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2Mtt$ "Notes anU illustrations. 





18, ST Paul's church-xard. 



It has proved a source of much satisfaction to the 
Author to find, that the views advocated in these 
Lectures have been generally approved by his readers. 
The alterations introduced into the present edition 
are chiefly verbal. Some few passages have been 
expunged, and others have been inserted. Certain 
statements have been slightly modified in consequence 
of remarks kindly suggested by reviewers and others ; 
but the purchasers may rely on the Lectures being 
substantially what they were when first delivered. 
The Author commends the work in its cheaper form 
to the blessing of God, which alone can render it con- 
ducive to edification and comfort. 

July, 1847. 


Page 12, line 28, for penman, read penmen. 
— 137, — 27, for Henstenburg, read Hengstenberg. 


The attention which the subject of the following 
Lectures has already received, and the number of 
works that have appeared, in which it is more or less 
ably discussed, might seem to render any additional 
publication superfluous. It is only necessary, however, 
to advert to the facts, that upon no topic within the 
compass of theological science does there exist a 
greater diversity of opinion — that most of those who 
profess to believe in the doctrine which it involves, 
hold it in a very loose and unsatisfactory manner — 
and that some of the best treatises in which it is 
handled are generally inaccessible, in order to be 
convinced, that something still remains to be done — 
some contribution still to be made towards the settling 
of a question, the importance and interest of which all 


readily admit. There is also much in the peculiar 
features of the times which calls for renewed effort 
in this department of theology. A spirit of universal 
inquiry has been awakened. The enemies of revealed 
truth are busily scattering the seeds of scepticism and 
infidelity. Lowering, or, to speak more properly, 
annihilating statements respecting the supernatural 
phenomena which the Scriptures exhibit, are liberally 
made by a pseudo-rational party of various grades 
and distinctions. Extravagant and untenable theories 
are advanced by some of the professed friends of 
revelation ; while a revival of pretensions to inspira- 
tion and other miraculous endowments still continue, 
in some measure, to disturb the peace of the church. 
It has been presumed that, in contemplation of all 
these circumstances, an attempt to subject the doctrine 
to a fresh process of historical and exegetical inves- 
tigation would at least be considered justifiable, 
though, in the judgment of some, it might not prove 

To the difliculties which attach to the subject the 
Author has not been insensible. They have been 
felt by all who have preceded him, and would 


certainly have deterred him from venturing to 
encounter them, had it not been for a conviction, 
produced almost at the commencement of his inqui- 
ries, that some of the most formidable do not 
necessarily adhere to it, but are the result of 
unwarranted hypotheses, or strained and false inter- 

It was originally his design to have confined himself 
to the more limited question respecting the exertion 
of supernatural influence on the minds of the sacred 
writers; but he soon found that justice could not be 
done to that particular division of the subject, without 
specially examining the statements of Scripture 
respecting the modes in which God otherwise re- 
vealed himself to the chosen messengers and favoured 
recipients of his will. He, therefore, extended his 
plan so as to make it embrace the whole range of 
revealing influence, and has not scrupled to employ 
the term inspiration in this its most comprehensive 

The results of his investigations he now submits 
to the decision of the candid, in the humble hope that, 


by the blessing of God, they may subserve the cause 
of truth, by confirming the faith of some, and recover- 
ing others from the baneful influence of sceptical and 
unsettled notions, or the equally dangerous tendencies 
of a bewildering and perplexing fanaticism. 


Canonbury Square, 



The " Congregational Library " was established with a view 
to the promotion of Ecclesiastical, Theological, and Biblical 
Literature, in that religious connection with whose friends and 
supporters it originated. It was also designed to secure a con- 
venient locality for such associations as had previously existed, 
or might hereafter exist, for the purpose of advancing the literary, 
civil, and religious interests of that section of the Christian 
Church to which it was appropriated. Without undervaluing 
the advantages of union, either with Evangelical Protestants, or 
Protestant Nonconformists, on such grounds as admit of liberal 
cooperation, it was nevertheless deemed expedient to adopt 
measures for facilitating the concentration and efficiency of their 
own denomination. In connection with these important objects, 
it was thought desirable to institute a Lecture, partaking rather 
of the character of Academic 2)relections than of popular 
addresses, and embracing a Series of Annual Courses of Lectures, 
to be delivered at the Library, or, if necessary, in some contiguous 
place of worship. In the selection of Lecturers, it was judged 
proper to appoint such as, by their literary attainments and 
ministerial reputation, had rendered service to the cause of 
divine truth in the consecration of their talents to the " defence 
and confirmation of the gospel." It was also supposed, that some 
might be found possessing a high order of intellectual competency 
and moral worth, imbued with an ardent love of biblical science, 
or eminently conversant with theological and ecclesiastical 
literature, who, from various causes, might never have attracted 
that degree of public attention to which they are entitled, and 
yet might be both qualified and disposed to undertake courses 
of lectures on subjects of interesting importance, not included 


within the ordinary range of pulpit instruction. To illustrate 
the evidence and importance of the great doctrines of Revelation ; 
to exhibit the true principles of philology in their application to 
such doctrines ; to prove the accordance and identity of genuine 
philosophy with the records and discoveries of Scripture ; and to 
trace the errors and corruptions which have existed in the Chris- 
tian Church to their proper sources, and, by the connection of 
sound reasoning with the honest interpretation of God's holy 
Word, to point out the methods of refutation and counteraction, 
are amongst the objects for which *' the Congregational Lecture" 
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the profits of the respective publications in aid of the Library. 
It is hoped that the liberal, and especially the opulent, friends 
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by their generous support, the sincerity of their attachment to 
the great principles of their Christian profession ; and that some 
may be found to emulate the zeal which established the " Boyle," 
the " Warburton," and the " Bampton " Lectures in the National 
Church. These are legitimate operations of the "voluntary 
principle" in the support of religion, and in perfect harmony 
with the independency of our Churches, and the spirituality of 
the kingdom of Christ. 

The Committee deem it proper to state that, whatever respon- 
sibility may attach either to the reasonings or opinions advanced 
in any Course of Lectures belongs exclusively to the Lecturer. 

Congregational Library, 
Blomfield Street, Finsbury, August, 1836. 




Prov. XXX. 1 — 6. — " The tcords of Agur the son of Jakeh, even the 
prophecy : the man spake unto Ithiel, even unto Ithiel and Ucal, 
Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the under- 
standing of a man. I neither learned wisdom, nor have the 
hnmoledge of the holy. Who hath ascended up into heai""''^ or 
descended ? who hath gathered the wind in his fists ? '^Ao hath 
hound the waters in a garment ? who hath established all the ends 
of the earth ? tohat is his name, and what is his son's name, if thou 
eanst tell F Every word of God is pure : he is a shield unto them 
that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his tcords, lest he 
reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.''' p. 



Heb. i. 1, 2. — " God, v:ho at sundry times and in divers manners spake 
in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days 
spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all 
things, by iohom also he made the worlds." 58 




Heb. i. 1, 2. — " God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake 
in time past trnto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days 
spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all 
things^ by whom also he made the tvorldsj'"' 104 



1 Cor. xii. 4 — 6. — " Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same 
Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same 
Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God 
which worketh all in alV* 148 



1 Cor. s. 15. — " I Speak as to wise men : judge ye what I say.^* . . 201 



2 Tim. iii. 16,17. — "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and 
is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction 
in righteousness ; that the man of God may be perfect ^ throughly 
furnished unto all good works^ 239 




Hosea viii. 12. — " I have written to him the great things of my 
lawr 289 



1 Cor ii.l3 " Which things also we speak, not in the words which 

maiCs loisdom teacheth, bid which the Holy Ghost teacheth : com- 
paring spiritual things with spiritual." 333 



Jeremiah xxiii. 35 " What hath the Lord spoken F" 386 



1 Cor. xiii. 8. — " Whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; 
whether there be tongues, they shall cease ; whether there be know-- 
ledge, it shall vanish away" 'iS? 

Notes and Illustrations 463 


PROV. XXX. 1 — 6. 

" The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, even the 'prophecy : 
the man spake unto Ithiel, even unto Ithiel and Ucal, 
Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not 
the understanding of a man. I neither learned toisdom, 
nor have the knowledge of the holy. Who hath ascended 
up into heave7i, or descended ? who hath gathered the 
wind in his fists ? who hath bound the waters in a 
garment ? ivho hath established all the ends of the 
earth ? ivhat is his name, and what is his sons name, 
if thou canst tell ? Every word of God is pure : he is 
a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add 
thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou 
be found a liar." 

In whatever obscurity the initial words of the text may 
be involved, or however difficult it may be to furnish 
a satisfactory explanation of the proper names which 
it exhibits, the sentiments expressed in it admit of an 
appropriate application to the subject of the present 
Lectures. The intellectual powers of man are con- 
fessedly of a noble and exalted character, susceptible of 
universal culture, and capable of engaging in extensive 



and profound research. Supplied with materials for 
reflection and ratiocination both by the constitution 
and operations of his own mind, and by the innumerable 
phenomena which are presented to his view in external 
nature, he cannot exercise the faculties with which he 
is endowed, by applying, to the extent of his opportu- 
nities, those principles of physical and psychological 
induction which approve themselves as the only solid 
basis of human knowledge, without acquiring fresh 
vigour and freedom of thought, obtaining more accurate 
conceptions of the nature and relations of things, and 
commanding more comprehensive views of the vast 
universe of which he forms a part. Yet, after he has 
taxed his powers to the utmost — after he has carried 
his mental processes into all the regions which come 
within the limits of the human understanding — he is 
reduced to the conclusion, that, in the absence of Divine 
Inspiration, or of its results in the records of Divine 
Science, it is impossible to attain to that acquaintance 
with Deity and human destiny which alone can satisfy 
a rational mind. Taught from above, he confesses his 
ignorance and imbecility, clings to the volume which 
contains a perfect revelation of the character, will, and 
government of God ; and discovering in it a light 
sufficient to conduct him in safety through all the laby- 
rinths of the present state, and introduce him with 
joyful hope into a better, he is jealous for its honour, 
and frowns on every attempt to improve upon its 

When the mind has arrived at a practical conviction 
respecting the existence of the Supreme Being, to 
whatever source that conviction may be traced, it is 


obvious no questions can arise of deeper or more com- 
manding interest tlian the following: — What cogni- 
zance does the Infinite Creator take of the universe, 
to which he has given existence ? Does he continue to 
preside over its affairs, administering them according 
to his pleasure, and so controlling and disposing of 
them as infallibly to secure the attainment of his own 
purposes ? In what light, in particular, does he regard 
the conduct of his rational creatures ? Has he made 
any disclosures of his will to them ? And, if so, where 
are these disclosures ? and what is their character ? 

It will be granted by all who admit the force of the 
arguments drawn from the admirable scheme of con- 
trivances and provisionary arrangements which pervade 
the economy of nature, in corroboration of the doctrine 
of the existence of a wise, powerful, and all-perfect 
First Cause, that the same wonderful economy furnishes 
numerous developments of a system of moral govern- 
ment, the laws of which afford important indications 
of his character as a righteous and benevolent Ruler. 
Whoever seriously reflects on the difference which 
obtains in human actions, the moral judgments which 
we naturally form in regard to them, the established 
connexion which subsists between virtue and happiness 
on the one hand, and vice and misery on the other, the 
extent of retributive. awards, which appear in the history 
of the world, and the extreme difiiculty which men find 
in their attempts to annihilate the conviction of the 
existence of a supreme Moral Governor, must perceive 
that the idea is most congenial to the human mind, 
and is, indeed, absolutely indispensable to the resolution 
of phenomena, which meet it in every direction. The 


disposition also "which mankiiid have universally disco- 
vered to institute such a government among themselves 
is an additional argument in favour of the existence of 
a supreme moral system in the hands of that Being to 
whom we attribute infinite excellence — whatever is 
good or praiseworthy in ourselves being only a feeble 
adumbration of the same quality in Him, in whose 
boundless mind it exists in an infinite degree. But 
while we thus satisfv ourselves in regard to the fact of 
a Divine moral government, and feel convinced that to 
deny it would be to shut our eyes against the manifold 
proofs of providential and rectoral agency which are 
every where presented to us. as well as to repress those 
inward notices and feelings which commend themselves 
as the genuine dictates of our moral constitution, it 
must be allowed that a thick veil of obscurity hangs 
over the pages of natural revelation with respect to 
those subjects which, as sinful and accountable crea- 
tures, it most concerns us to know. For, whatever may 
be the apparently appropriate processes of moral disci- 
pline through which we are conducted in the present 
state ; how cogent soever the reasonings in reference to 
our future condition to which we may endeavour to 
surrender our minds ; whatever the flattering guesses 
and specious hypotheses which we may form in regard 
to God's treatment of moral agents, and whatever 
degree of satisfaction we may derive fix)m certain 
isolated views of the Divine character :— we no sooner 
take a broad and impartial survey of our condition, and 
fix our contemplations on other aspects of Deity, which 
force theuLselves upon us, than we find that there is 
nothing within the wide range of the physical or the 


intellectual world, which is calculated to inspire us 
with confidence, or produce in our minds any feeling 
of weU-grounded hope. Under such circumstances we 
require information respecting the will and designs of 
our Maker, which neither the operations of nature, nor 
the ordinary course of things in the moral world, can, 
by any possibility, supply. 

Independently, howeyer. of the undeniable characters 
of moral degeneracy, which so awfully mark our history, 
and assuming that the time was when man existed in 
an unfallen and holy state, is it reasonable to suppose, 
that he would be left by his Creator to collect the 
seyeral items of his knowledge merely in a natural way 
by the obserrations which he might make on the 
physical objects by which he was surrounded, and bv 
reflection on his own intellectual and moral constitu- 
tion ? Allied by the superior faculties of his nature to 
•• the Father of Spirits," is it imaginable that no im- 
mediate intercourse took place between them ? Or, are 
we to belieye that the only communications made by 
the Deity were effected by the music of the spheres, 
the sound of the elements, the inarticulate yoices of the 
brute creation, or the deep heayings of man's own im- 
mortal nature ? The rest of creation was regulated 
by the laws of physical mechanism, or mere animal 
instinct, and terminated on material and sensible objects: 
but man was gifted with intelligence and moral prin- 
ciple — he was created with powers which capacitated 
him for holding conyerse with his Maker in the way 
of receiying firom him supernatural and intelligent 
communications, and of yielding in return suitable ex- 
pressions of gratitude and loye. 


The frame of human nature is obviously constituted 
with a view to a higher intercourse than can be held 
-with any description of agents in the visible world. 
For though it exhibits a perfect adaptation to meet the 
claims of social converse between individuals of the 
same species, it is, at the same time, so constructed as 
to admit of intelligent communications taking place 
between them and beings of a higher order in the scale 
of existence — especially with the Supreme Intelligence 
himself, to whose incessant care man is indebted for 
the continued preservation of all liis powers and facul- 
ties. But if no such communion ever existed, or was 
ever intended, the fact just adverted to presents an 
anomaly without a parallel in this province of the 
Divine kingdom. 

On the supposition that, on his formation, the first 
human being was destitute of all concreated or super- 
naturally -imparted knowledge, it does not appear how, 
y any process of intellectual operation whatever, he 
could have arrived at definite or satisfactory ideas 
respecting the spiritual and moral character of God, 
the relations in which he stood to him, his duties 
towards him, the manner in which these duties should 
be discharged, or his own higher and ultimate destiny. 
And even as it regards the simple fact of the existence 
of one Great First Cause, supposing him ever to have 
arrived at the knowledge of it by the exercise of his 
OAvn unaided powers, what an expenditure of time and 
thought it must have cost him ! what processes of 
investigation and induction he must have instituted ! 
with what difficulty he must have satisfied himself 
with respect to the properties of matter, the laws of 


motion, the connexion between causes and effects, and 
numerous other particulars in relation to the phenomena 
of the universe ! And after all, notwithstanding the 
indications by which he was met of the operation of a 
principle superior to any which came under the cog- 
nizance of his senses, how was it possible for him to 
reach a point in his inquiries beyond which he felt it 
was no longer necessary to proceed — a point at which 
he might rest in the assured conviction that he had 
now conquered every difficulty, surmounted every 
doubt, and positively ascertained the nature of that 
Being who was higher than the highest, from whom all 
things proceeded, and to whose governance all were 
subject ? When the idea of the Divine Existence has 
once been admitted into the mind, notliing is more 
easy than the discovery of innumerable proofs in sup- 
port of it. Naturalists and metaphysicians employ it 
in the construction of their several systems, and uncon- 
sciously avail themselves of the light which it diffuses 
over their reasonings, even when undertaking by a 
'priori or a posteriori arguments to establish the fact ; 
but it remains to be seen at what results they would 
arrive if they were to commence their labours totally 
uninfluenced by any such previous notion. Certain it 
is that, how extensively soever the belief in a Deity has 
obtained in the world, — and few indeed have been the 
exceptions, — it cannot be shown that it has, in any one 
instance, resulted from argument, or that any individual 
ever acquired it by applying his mental powers to an 
investigation of the phenomena of nature. 

When we take into consideration the necessity of 
supernatural communications in order to the satisfac- 


toiy determination of every essential point of faith and 
duty, it appears in the highest degree probable that 
such communications must have taken place. We can- 
not conceive it possible that the Divine Being would 
have left the human family destitute of the knowledge 
of himself, and of his will as the supreme standard of 
moral actions. We accordingly find, that, in all coun- 
tries and in every age, the opinion has prevailed, that 
an intercourse has subsisted between heaven and earth. 
There exists no pagan system of religious faith which 
does not, under one shape or other, recognise its occur- 
rence. So powerfully has the idea laid hold on the 
human mind, that, in the absence of positive revela- 
tions, recourse has been had to invention and imposture, 
in order to satisfy its desires of higher information 
than could possibly be obtained by the exercise of the 
unassisted powers of reason. To this source may be 
traced many of the oracles of Egypt and Greece, the 
original Sibylline books, and other frauds of ancient and 
modern heathenism. There are also to be found in the 
various religious creeds, which have been or still are- 
professed in the pagan world, numerous points of con- 
vergence, which impel us to believe that there formerly 
existed a primitive revelation as the prototype, from 
which, by imperceptible degrees, they have receded, in 
proportion to the progress of corruption, or the influence 
of superstitions more or less gross in their character, 
which have been associated with them. It is impossible 
to pursue the study of mythology to any extent, without 
perceiving certain relationships which point to a com- 
mon source, extraneous in point of locality to the 
territory which it covers, and remote in jDoint of time 


from the ages which it historically describes. The 
Vedas of the Hindoos, the books of Buddha, the Zen- 
davesta, and the Icelandic Edda, as well as the mytho- 
logies of Chaldea, Egypt, and Greece, exhibit, amidst 
^Jl the obscurity in which an immense profusion of 
symbols, fables, and allegories has involved them, 
unequivocal developments of a pre-existent period of 
monotheism and pure revelation. 

Of the numerous religions which have existed in the 
world, there are only three that claim to have been 
derived from the one living and true God — the Jewish, 
the Christian, and the Mohammedan ; or, strictly 
taken, they may be reduced to two, inasmuch as the 
Jewish and Christian are merely parts or divisions of 
the same Divine system of revelation — the latter being 
complementary, or perfective of the former. The pre- 
tensions of Islamism are high and uncompromising in 
their character, but they rest on no solid foundation. 
The Koran, which forms its religious code, purports 
to have been revealed from heaven during nocturnal 
visits of the angel Gabriel, who, it is believed, commu- 
nicated it to Mohammed precisely as it stands, chapter 
for chapter, and verse for verse, written upon parch- 
ment made of the skin of the ram which Abraham 
sacrificed in the room of his son Isaac. The tenet, 
that it is celestial, uncreated, and eternal, has likewise 
had many adherents ; but a slight acquaintance with 
the history of the times in which it originated, and an 
equally slight comparison of its contents with those of 
the Jewish and Christian Scriptures, are sufficient ta 
show that it consists of borrowed materials, clumsily 
put together, and published to the world in the name of 


the most Compassionate and Merciful, unaccompanied 
by any appeals in proof of its divinity, except to the 
inimitable sublimity of its style, (a quality, however, 
which is perceptible only by believers,) its alleged 
coincidence with former revelations, and especially the 
professed fulfilment of certain prophecies delivered by 
Moses and Christ,, which had Mohammed for their 
object.* It is undeniable that the author of the book 
had repeated interviews with the Jews and theNestorian 
monks of Syria during his commercial journeys to that 
country, when he had opportunities of becoming 
acquainted with the Bible, isolated passages of which, 
obscured and disfigured by Rabbinical and legendary 
comments; he amalgamated with dogmas held by the 
Magi and Sabseans, in order to form a religious system 
of his own— a system decidedly hostile to every species 
of idolatry^ but also essentially differing from that of 
the Jews and Christians, except in regard to the Divine 
Unity and Spirituality, and belief in a future state 
of rewards and punishments. When repeatedly chal- 
lenged by those to whom he first announced its dogmas 
to work miracles in attestation of his call as a Divine 
ambassador, the reply of Mohammed was, that a suffi- 
ciency of miracles had already been wrought by Jesus 
and other prophets ; and that, besides, they were 
unnecessary, since believers did not require them, and 
they would be thrown away upon infidels, who would 
not admit their validity. He was also urged to confirm 
his messages by unequivocal predictions ; but he excused 
himself by asserting, that he did not hold the key of 

* See Note A. 


secret things, and that it belonged to God and not to 
him to know the future. That a system so manifestly 
founded on falsities and fables should so rapidly have 
spread, so extensively have prevailed, and have been 
so permanent in its influence, is to be accounted for on 
the grounds of its superiority to the most refined system 
of paganism, its congeniality mth some of the leading 
principles of our depraved nature, as existing in a 
prurient state in oriental climes, the secular influence 
which it has had at its command, and especially the 
deep degeneracy of those sections of the professed 
Church of Christ, with which it has been in more 
immediate contact. 

In support of the Jewish and Christian Revelation, 
claims of a very different character are advanced. 
These claims rest on evidences both of an external and 
internal nature, which challenge the freest and most 
ample examination, and furnish the most satisfactory 
attestation that the truths, to substantiate which they 
are produced, were not of human invention, but the 
result of Divine communications, and are to be regarded 
as authoritative announcements of the will of God to 

The more ancient of these communications were not 
originally reduced to writing. Such of them as were 
granted to our first parents, to the antediluvians, to 
Noah and others, appear to have been committed, for 
a period of two thousand years, to oral tradition, as a 
medium of preservation and transmission: — both of 
which purposes it was fully competent to secure, at a 
time when human longevity was greatly extended, 
and the revelations themselves were more limited and 


individual in their aspects than most of those which 
were afterwards made. But after the life of man was 
about to be abbreviated to two-thirds of a century, and 
the patriarchal dispensation gave place to a national 
institute, which was to be the great depositary of 
Divine truth, not merely for the benefit of those among 
whom it was established, but ultimately for the benefit 
of the whole world, the revelations of the will of God 
were embodied in written documents, and carefully 
preserved in the archives of the Hebrews, where they 
received such accessions of oracular matter as conti- 
nued, from time to time, to be vouchsafed from heaven. 
To the sacred records thus delivered to the posterity 
of Abraham, have since been added those which apper- 
tain to the Christian economy; and both classes of 
books have been handed down to us, unimpaired, in 
any material degree, by the lapse of time, or the acci- 
dents of transcription, to which, in common with all 
other writings, they have been exposed. 

It is to the revelations which it pleased the Deity 
at different periods to make to mankind, and to the 
influence exerted to secure the faithful deposition, in 
written forms, of those truths which he was pleased to 
ordain should be transmitted to future ages, that we 
here appropriate the term inspiration. We use it in a 
generic sense, and comprehend under it, not merely 
the particular species of Divine influence which was 
enjoyed by the sacred penman, but the entire subject 
of revelation, or the various modes in which Jehovah 
employed supernatural agency for the purpose of dis- 
closing his will.* 

* See Note B. 


Before proceeding to investigate the nature and 
modes of inspiration as thus defined, it will be neces- 
sary to institute an inquiry into the import of certain 
terms and phrases which have been employed in re- 
ference to it, in order that we may be fully prepared 
to view it in the various aspects under which it is 
presented to our notice in the book of God. 

On examining the history of languages it is found 
that, during their most ancient periods, or in such as 
have undergone but little cultivation, the primitive 
signification of words is almost universally physical, 
being derived from external or sensible objects, the 
ideas of which have previously taken possession of the 
mind. Whatever signs there may have been in the 
primeval language, in which the first man held con- 
verse with his Maker, that were purely the result of 
intellectual conceptions, and in no manner originated 
by or dependent upon any thing of a physical or sen- 
sible character ; and how much soever these signs 
might have been augmented and improved upon, if the 
human mind had continued assiduously to cultivate 
intercourse with the spiritual world, nothing was more 
natural than the reduction of language to a gross sub- 
serviency to sense, in proportion as the mental powers 
became enslaved to secular pursuits, and the higher 
interests of the soul merged in those of corporeal or 
mere animal gratification. The mind becoming as it 
were identified with the external objects of its choice, 
their influence over the ideas which it formed, and the 
various modes by which it gave expression to these 
ideas, could not but prove highly deteriorating. 

In the state of degeneracy thus superinduced, man- 


kind now naturally exist ; and it is not till some mighty- 
impulse has been exerted upon their minds, or certain 
habits of abstraction have been created, that an intro- 
version of this order of things takes place. And even 
in a state of spiritual renovation, when the mind is 
occupied with the contemplation of invisible objects, — 
whether these objects embrace its own internal states 
and operations, or whether they embrace intellectual 
essences which are extrinsic to it, — it is next to im- 
possible for it to rid itself of previously acquired 
sensible ideas, or to express itself, except through those 
vehicles of thought which owe their origin to something 
or other that has come under the cognizance of the 
senses, and to which, in consequence, it has become 
more or less strongly habituated. In proceeding to 
generalize and pursue trains of abstract thought, it is 
compelled, for the most part, to employ phraseology 
already in use, only transferring to it new and nobler 
ideas, on the principle of definite analogies, which are 
found to exist between these ideas and those of a 
physical complexion which it was originally adopted to 

Kor did it seem proper to Infinite Wisdom, in making 
a revelation to mankind, to depart, except in compa- 
ratively few instances, from the ordinary usage of 
language, as thus obtaining among them. In Holy 
Scripture words are freely used in a metaphorical sense 
to denote spiritual objects, which, in their primary 
acceptation, designate objects in the material world, or 
purely sensible images and impressions. Of this we 
are furnished with abundant proof by the terms usually 
employed to describe our present subject, — terms which 


tLve, for the most part, borrowed from the analogy 
subsisting between the idea of wind or breath and that 
of sjnrit, to express which, not only in Hebrew, but in 
most of the ancient, and in many of the modern lan- 
guages, the same word is used. This analogy appears 
chiefly to rest on the properties of subtilty, invisibility, 
and vital energy, by which both are characterised. 
Hence, in the account given by Moses of the formation 
of Adam, the language is so constructed, that while it 
unquestionably indicates the infusion of vital animal 
power by an act of the Creator analogous to that of 
inspiration, or blowing into any material subject; it 
also teaches the doctrine, that at the same time, and 
by the same act, man became possessed of a rational, 
intelligent nature. " And the Lord God formed man 
" of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his 
" nostrils the breath of life ; and man became a living 
" soul." (Gen. ii. 7.) In the Latin version of this 
passage the verb ins^piravit occurs, which in the same 
version is also applied, in the passive voice, to describe 
the action of the Holy Spirit on the minds of the 
prophets, and the effect of such action in the production 
of the Sacred Scriptures through their instrumentality.* 
In like manner the substantive inspiratio is employed 
to express that Divine influence by which intelligence 
is imparted to the human mind (Job xxxii. 8) ; and it 
is to the use of these terms in this ancient version we 
are to trace the derivation of the words inspire and 
inspiration in their appropriated theological import. 
The Greek term BeoTrvevarta, which divines generally 

* 2 Pet. i. 21 — Spiritu Sancto inspirati. 2 Tim. iii 16 — Omnis scriptura 
divinitus inspirata. 


use when treating scientifically of inspiration, is formed 
from the compound deoTryevaroQ, which, in the autho- 
rized version, is rendered — "given by inspiration of 
God," (2 Tim. iii. 16) ; but which, according to its 
strict etymological import, signifies what is divinely 
breathed, or a certain divinely imparted property or 
quality, in consequence of which the subject of which 
it is predicated claims Divine authority. The word 
occurs nowhere besides in Scripture ; nor has it been 
found in any of the earlier Greek writers, on which 
account it has been conjectured that it was formed by 
the Apostle, in order more definitely to express what 
he had to teach respecting the Divine origin of the 
sacred writings. That it may have originated with 
him is certainly not impossible ; yet if it be found in 
heathen writers who flourished in or shortly after his 
time, and who cannot, with any degree of probability, 
be supposed to have had any knowledge of his writings, 
it would seem more natural to conclude that it was 
employed by them in common, as already existing in 
the language. Now it does occur in Phocylides, or 
rather in the poet who wrote under his name in the 
reign of the Emperor Adrian, when describing the 
superior wisdom communicated by the gods, with which 
that which was merely human was not for a moment 
to be compared.* Plutarch also, who Avrote much 
about the same time, speaks of QtoKvivaroL orelpoi, or 
such dreams as were obviously of supernatural origin ; 
such as were so very extraordinary in their character, 
that they could not be referred to the class of common 

* Xoyoi ^pvjs dvOpwnwv' 

Tj)? 6e GEOriNEYSTOY aotpin^ Xo-yor kari upio-Tor. 


oneiric phenomena with which we are more or less 
familiar, but must be attributed to Divine influence. 
But though this identical term does not appear to have 
been in use among the earlier Greeks, their language 
teems with others similarly compounded, which are, in 
like manner, expressive of an action or influence of the 
Divinity on the human mind, corresponding analogi- 
cally to that exerted on material objects by the wind, 
particularly on vessels impelled before it at sea, — 
a Divine energy or afilatus, which the recipient or 
passive subject could not withstand, which took posses- 
sion of him, filled him, excited him, bore him along, 
taught him, and enabled him to deliver doctrines, and 
perform actions, which transcended the limits of his 
ordinary powers and modes of operation. ^ Nor can it 
be doubted that it is in accommodation to the phrase- 
ology which he found in the Platonic philosophers, that 
Philo employs the participle KaraTrvevadav in reference 
to the noble endowments of Abraham, which he 
ascribes to the inhabitation of the Divine Spirit, whose 
influence had descended from above, and produced a 
complete change in his character.^ 

It is with similar reference, as significant of the 
supernatural gifts with which the Apostles were to be 

(1) Of these the following are a specimen : OeodidanTos, Oeo^opo^, Oeocpoptn'^ir 
Oto<j)opovfjie.vui, OeuKivnTOi, 0e6\r)Tnoi, O€0(ppddjj.u)v, Oeonponoi, Oeodeyfxwv, 
Oeo/jiavTii. To express the same thing, the Greeks also made use of the terms 
evOeoi, eniTtvoo^, k'TnrvevaOtv, TTvev^arocpopo^, evOovciobv, ev9ov\7taafA<^voi, 
€vOiw<ria<n7ii, TrcTTVi/juei/or, dTrodatfjLOi^i^wv, jjiaivo/jLtvos, /xaivoXri^, &C. 

(2) Ou6e yap o/jiiXiait exP^JTO Ta7f a^Tat?, d\^' eiriOeiaCtov to noWa, cre/jivo- 
repaii. 'On-oTe 701/1' KaTaaxetieiri, /uereySuWe Trdi/ra Trpoj to /SiXriov, rcif 
6>/>e«r, Ti]v xi-Oiuv, to /lefeOo^, ra^ (rxtaec^, tu? Ktvrjcreii, rijv ^a>vt]ti' rov tieiov 
Trvevfiarof, onep dvmdev Karairvevadev eio-WKf/o-aTo Tfj ^I'XJ/- De Nobilitate, 
vol. ii. p. 442. Edit. Mangey. 



inspired, that our Lord is said to have " breathed upon 
them, ive(pv(Tr](Te^ — accompanying the symbolical act 
with words of corresponding import : " Receive ye the 
Holy Ghost," TrveviAa ayiov. (John xx. 22.) And 
when the important promise, thus solemnly made, was 
fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, by the actual 
impartation of the extraordinary influences of the 
Divine agent, among other features of the won- 
derful phenomenon is enumerated "a sound from 
" heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, waicEp 
^^ <l>epo}XEvr}Q TTvoriQ piaiac, which fiUed aU the house 
" where" the disciples " were sitting." (Acts ii. 2.) 
It is true the term employed in this latter passage is 
not precisely that by which wind and spirit are ex- 
pressed in common ; but it is a derivative from the same 
theme, and seems to be used here with singular pro- 
priety in restriction to the symbol, in order to distinguish 
it from the thing signified, viz, the influence of the 
Holy Spirit with which the Apostles were then endued 
in so remarkable a degree, and from which effects of 
the most amazing character were to result. 

On the same principle of analogy the SjDirit of God is 
said in Scripture, nb^, to come or fall powerfully on those 
who were the subjects of miraculous agency. Judges 
xiv. 19 ; 1 Sam. x. 10 ; eireTreffe, Acts x. 44 ; m:, to 
rest or continue upon them. Num. xi. 26 ; 2 Kings ii. 15 ; 
TT??^, to cover or invest them, Judges vi. 34 ; 1 Chron. 
xii. 18 ; (comp. er^varjade, Luke xxiv. 49 ;) ^ «''3, to enter 
into them, Ezek. ii. 2, iii. 24 ; N^p, to fill or replenish 
them, Exod. xxviii. 3, xxxi. 3 ; (comp. iTcXrjdrjaay, 
Acts ii. 4 ; TrXrjadelQ, iv. 8 ;) npb, nm, to take them up, 
or bear them away, Ezek. iii. 12, 14 ; — all of which 


sensible modes of expression are designed to teach us 
the divine origin, completeness, permanence, energy, 
and efficiency of the gifts with which the persons 
spoken of were endowed ; just as the wind descends 
upon the earth, surrounds or fills the objects with 
which it is brought into contact, and imparts to them an 
impetus by which they are removed from their ordi- 
nary position, and impelled forward in the direction in 
which it blows. And it is in reference to the same 
physical action, or in terms borrowed from it, that the 
prophets are described as having made their communi- 
cations, as they were moved or borne along by the 
Holy Ghost, vtto Trvevfiarog ayiov (pepojjiEVOi, 2 Pet. i. 21. 
The exertion of this Divine influence is further 
spoken of under the idea of a hand falling or being 
upon any one, "b "ts nn^rt, n^c: rnn; t, in which Hebrew 
usage there is the same metaphorical accommodation to 
physical conceptions or impressions which we have 
traced in the former case. Thus we read that the 
hand of the Lord was upon Ezekiel by the river Che- 
bar, (ch. i. 3,) and that when the Spirit lifted him up 
and carried him away, and he went in bitterness in the 
heat of his spirit, the hand of the Lord was strong 
upon him, (iii. 14.) Similar language is employed by 
Isaiah when describing the powerful impulse by which 
he was actuated on being supernaturally instructed 
respecting the manner in which he was to discharge 
the duties of his office : " For the Lord spake thus to 
me with a strong hand," (ch. viii. 11.) We read also, 
2 Eangs iii. 15, "It came to pass, when the minstrel 
played, that the hand of the Lord came upon" Elisha, 
who, in consequence, immediately delivered a prophecy. 


The hand being the seat of power, or that member of 
the human body by which its strength is most efficiently 
exerted, it came to be regarded as the emblem of that 
quality ; and in the oriental languages the term is fre- 
quently used in this tropical or metaphorical sense ; so 
that by the phraseology which we have just quoted 
from the Old Testament, we are obviously to under- 
stand that the prophets became the subjects of a sudden 
and powerful impulse, by the influence of which their 
minds were prepared to receive, and strengthened and 
prompted to communicate, those revelations of the 
Divine will with which they were favoured. 

The exertion of this extraordinary impulse was not, 
however, confined to those who were selected to be 
interpreters of the will of God ; it was also vouchsafed 
to such as were raised up for the achievement of 
supernatural deeds in defence of the cause of the Most 
High. (Judges iii. 10 ; vi. 34.) Of this we have a 
remarkable instance in the case of Samson, in reference 
to whom we read, that " the Spirit of the Lord began 
to move him at times in the camp of Dan," (xiii. 25.) 
On which we would observe, that in the original 
i?D!?3b Tf\rv m-i bnrii, there is nothing corresponding to the 
words " at times," which intimate that the extraordi- 
nary spiritual influence exerted upon him was merely 
occasional ; whereas, the fact taught in the passage is, 
that, at the period there referred to, he experienced, 
for the first time, the exertion of such infiuence. But 
I advert to this text specially for the purpose of point- 
ing out the peculiar force of the term (c??) there 
employed to describe the manner in which Samson was 
wrought upon, it being used in this application no- 


where else in Scripture, but otherwise signifies to 
make a stroke or impression on the senses, to move 
with sudden violence ; hence, mentally to agitate, 
throw into a state of excitement, powerfully to put 
into a state of emotion. As employed in the present 
instance, it is evidently expressive of the excitation of 
the Hebrew youth to feats of cliivalrous valour, 
exceeding any which he or any of his companions 
could have exhibited if they had been left to the 
exercise of their ordinary strength, in order that he 
might be prepared, by the experience which he thus 
had of supernatural aid, to trust in Jehovah when he 
should be called to fill situations in which nothing 
short of that aid could enable him successfully to cope 
with the enemies of his people. When afterwards 
honoured to put forth superhuman energy, it is 
said, ttStt^ r^^■^ rbr rt^ni, " the Spirit of the Lord came 
mightily upon him," (chap. xiv. 6 ; xv. 14 ;) which 
is obviously expressive of the communication of that 
physical strength by which he became qualified to 
execute what lay beyond the limits of mortal power. 

In accordance with the use of this and similar 
phraseology, indicating the powerful impulse of the 
Spirit, he who sustained the prophetical character is 
called a " spiritual man," or a man of the Sp'trit, 
m-in Mjv, ^. e. one who is the subject of his supernatural 
influence ; or as it is significantly expressed by the 
LXX. TTvevfjLarocpopoQ, impelled or borne along by the 
Spirit. (Hos. ix. 7.) In the same acceptation the term 
TTvevixaTtKoc, " spiritual," is used, 1 Cor. xiv. 37. " If 
any man think himself to be a prophet or spiritual" — 
where the combination of sjnritual with jirophet, just 


as in the passage quoted from Hosea, shows that the 
reference is not to the ordinary grace of the Holy- 
Spirit, but to the possession or enjoyment of extraor- 
dinary Divine influence, which indeed is also apparent 
from the nature of the Apostle's argument. It is upon 
this principle that, in the New Testament, those who 
were, or pretended to be, the subjects of such influence, 
are termed Trvevfiara, spirits. (2 Thess. ii. 2 ; 1 Tim. 
iv. 1 ; 1 John iv. 1 — 3.) The state in which the true 
prophets or spiritual men were, when acted upon by 
such influence, is described by the very emphatic 
phrase rin^, iv irveu^xaTi, to be in the Spirit, i. e. so to 
be the subject of his extraordinary operations, that the 
influence thus exerted constituted as it were the 
element in which they lived and acted ; and, while it 
lasted, superseded the ascendency of their rational 
faculties, though, as we shall afterwards have occasion 
to notice, it did not deprive them of the use of these 
faculties, as some have preposterously maintained. 
(Ezek. XXX vii. 1 ; Matt. xxii. 43 ; Rev. i. 10.) 

Another term of frequent occurrence in its applica- 
tion to those who were the subjects of extraordinary 
Divine influence, and which throws considerable light 
on our subject, is Prophecy. According to some the 
Hebrew word «'2:, which we render jirophet, is derived 
from the root ^i3, signifying to produce ; hence, to bring 
out, or give utterance in speech : others derive it from 
ni:, to be high, to be raised to intercourse with the 
Deity ; while others again refer it to «i3, to come or 
enter, and explain it to mean one who has been ad- 
mitted into the secret counsel of Jehovah, or to whom 
a Divine revelation has come. But whatever resem- 


blance any of these roots may have to the term in 
question, and how appropriately soever the significa- 
tions which have been deduced from them may describe 
certain aspects of the prophetic character, they are 
destitute of any solid etymological basis. It is now 
generally agreed among Hebrew scholars, that the 
word comes from S33, which is not used in any of the 
forms of the active voice, but in the Arabic and Ethi- 
opic dialects signifies to speak, announce, indicate ; 
and, in the former, specially to announce the will of 
God. It is closely related to another verb, r^:, which 
differs from it only in a single letter of the same class, 
the signification of which is to boil up as a spring, to 
pour forth copiously, to give copious utterance in 
words. In the passive and reflexive forms, the verb 
obviously conveys the idea of the delivery of a commu- 
nication by one who is the subject of foreign influence 
— one who is acted upon by another of whose will he 
is the interpreter, or organ of revelation.^ On com- 
paring all the passages of the Old Testament in which 
the word occurs, and combining in natural order the 
different ideas which they most readily suggest, the 
following appear to be the acceptations in which it is 
used by the sacred writers. 

First, it designates a person to whom God has re- 
vealed himself in an extraordinary or miraculous 
manner, and who, in consequence, is on terms of imme- 
diate and intimate intercourse with him — one for 
whom the Deity has a special regard, and to whose 

(1) See Winer's Edit, of Simonis Heb. Lexicon, and Gesenii Lexicon Manuale 
in voce. i<n: and «^i:. F. D. Dresde de notione prophetae in Cod. Sac. Viteb. 
1788. J. F. RehkopfF de vate Scripturae, Helmst. 1788, 4to. J. C. Kallii 
Dissertt. de voce i^^aD- Havn. 1741, 4to. H. Witsii Miscell. Sacra, lib. i. cap. 1. 


influence in procuring the Divine favour great impor- 
tance is to be attached. This acceptation presents 
itself Gen. xx. 7, the first time the word occurs, where 
God declares to Abimelech respecting Abraham, wrr n>12, 
" He is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and 
thou shalt live." In the same sense it is used of Moses, 
Deut. xxxiv. 10 — 12, and of the patriarchs generally, 
Ps. cv. 15. 

Secondly, it is employed to denote one who an- 
nounces or publishes the matters which Jehovah has 
revealed to him, and who, in doing so, speaks under 
the impulse of Divine inspiration. Such, indeed, is 
the notion which ordinarily attaches to the term.' 
Those who in this sense were prophets, not only had 
revelations of the Divine will made to them, but they 
were commissioned to communicate them in the name 
of God to others. The same view is suggested by the 
application of the name to Aaron, Exod. vii. 1 : " And 
the Lord said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god 
to Pharaoh ; and Aaron thy brother shall be thy pro- 
phet." He was to receive the messages from Moses, 
and deliver them to the Egyptian monarch. Hence 
the term came to be given, by way of eminence, to the 
order of men raised up under the Jewish economy for 
the purpose of imparting such religious instructions as 
they had derived immediately from God, and who 
acted officially in the capacity of infallible religious 
teachers in the ancient Church. And in the quota- 
tions made in the New Testament from the Old, those 
are comprehended under the title, who, though not 
belonging to the prophetical order, were nevertheless 

(1) Stillingflett, Grig. Sac. book ii. ch. 5. § 4. 


favoured with Divine revelations, which they published 
for the benefit of others. Thus David, who was not a 
prophet in the official sense of the term, is nevertheless 
called by that name. Acts ii. 30. 

Thirdly, the word is used of those who, under the 
influence of Divine inspiration, gave expression in a 
lofty, energetic, and poetic style, to the truths with 
which they were inspired, or to certain truths respect- 
ing God and divine things, which they were super- 
naturally excited to rehearse. It appears to be 
employed in this sense in reference to the seventy men 
of the elders of Israel, who were selected to assist 
Moses in the discharge of his official duties, of whom 
it is said " that, when the Spirit rested on them, they 
prophesied and ceased not ;" with respect to which 
exhibition, as continued in the camp by Eldad and 
Medad, Moses disinterestedly exclaimed, " Would to 
God that all the Lord's people were prophets, and that 
the Lord would put his spirit upon them ! " (Num. xi. 
29.) In this sense Miriam is called a prophetess, 
because she was inspired to lead the female choir by 
which the discomfiture of the Egyptians was celebrated, 
(Exod. XV. 20, 21;) and the choirs of prophets men- 
tioned 1 Sam. X. 5, 10—15, to which Saul joined him- 
self, and in whose exercises he participated, seem to 
have been similarly occupied. To this species of 
prophesying must also be referred the song of Zecha- 
riah, Luke i. 

Fourthly, the word prophecy is also sometimes taken 
in the stricter sense of foretelling future events, in 
which case those of whom it is predicated had these 
events revealed to them with the express command to 


make them known to others ; respecting which Amos 
writes — " Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but 
" he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets. 
" The lion hath roared, who will not fear? The Lord 
"God hath spoken, who can but prophesy?" (iii. 7, 8.) 

Of most of these acceptations of this important term, 
and certain minor modifications of it, examples occur 
in the New Testament ; but it would be improper to 
anticipate in this place what belongs to the -yapirTiiaTa 
conferred upon the Aj^ostolic Church, a particular 
examination of which will occupy our attention in a 
future lecture. What has been adduced is sufficient 
to show that the state of the persons who are called 
prophets, or who are spoken of as having prophesied, 
was of an extraordinary character, and that, in most 
cases, they were inspired interpreters of the Divine will. 

To express the supernatural impartation of truth to 
the mind, the terms reveal, Revelation, r^% uTroKaXvxpig, 
are employed. Both terms properly signify the rolling 
back of a veil, or such a removal of it from any object 
before which it has hung, that it shall no longer inter- 
vene between that object and the subject of vision, to 
prevent his contemplation of it. Though the verb rtj^a, 
ciTroiiaXvTrrsiv, to reveal, is frequently followed by the 
things said to be revealed, it is evident we are not to 
conceive of any effect being produced upon them by 
the act of revelation. Truth, like its great Author, is 
immutable ; it consists of pure celestial light, and, like 
that of the sun, is itself equally unaffected by the 
existence or by the removal of any obstructions which 
may intercept its communication. Whatever change 
took place in man, and was the result of a Divine 


influence, directly and immediately operating upon his 
mind so as to turn his attention to the objects of reve- 
lation, gave him such a perception of them as was 
requisite to secure their definite presentation to others 
in the forms either of ordinary or prophetic language, 
and was accompanied with overpowering, perceptible 
evidence, that what had thus been acquired was really 
communicated from heaven. It is on this principle 
we are to account for and interpret such metaphorical 
phrases as uncovering the ears or the eyes of any one. 
Thus 1 Sam. ix. 15 ; 2 Sam. vii. 27: "For thou, 
Lord God of hosts, God of Israel, hast revealed to thy 
servant," ?j^2? p^^ix ryrfii : lit. — hast uncovered the ear of 
thy servant, L e. caused him to perceive, or opened his 
mind, and thus imparted to him the knowledge of thy 
kind and gracious purpose. In like manner it is said, 
that the Lord opened, n^, uncovered or unveiled,^the 
eyes of Balaam, Num. xxii. 31 ; and that infatuated 
prophet, describing his state as the recipient of Divine 
revelations, speaks of himself as " the man whose eyes 
are open ;" wyv ^t\, the man of unveiled eyes, i. e. he, 
from whose mind the veil had been removed, which 
naturally hides from mortals the purposes and future 
operations of Jehovah. (Num. xxiv. 3, 16.) For this 
reason supernatural discoveries of truth are designated 
revelations, 1 Cor. xiv. 6, 26 ; 2 Cor. xii. 1,7; Gal. i. 
12 ; ii. 2 ; Eph. iii. 3 ; Rev. i. 1 ; and of the glorious 
Author of these communications it is said, " He giveth 
" wisdom to the wise, and knowledge to them that 
" know understanding. lie revealeth the deep and 
" secret things; he knoweth what is in the darkness, 
" and the light dwelleth with him." Dan. ii. 21, 22. 


Other terms and phrases, such as — " Thus saith the 
" Lord ;" "the Lord spake ;" " the Lord commanded ;" 
" the word of the Lord came ;" " the Lord appeared ;" 
"the Lord revealed himself ;" "the Lord shewed me ;" 
" the Spirit speaketh," &c. ; are all more or less expres- 
sive of the different ways in which the Divine will has 
been revealed to mankind. In general, it may be 
observed of them in this place, that they most explicitly 
assert the fact, that extraordinary Divine communica- 
tions were made to men under the circumstances 
described in the sacred narrative ; and it would be 
contrary to all the laws of sound exegesis to interpret 
such phraseology either of mere natural events, of self- 
cogitation on the part of those who are stated to have 
been the subjects of them, or of feigned intercourse 
with heaven. To these hypotheses, as well as to some 
others of a similar description, recourse has been had 
both by those who deny that any supernatural inter- 
ference has ever taken place on the part of the Deity 
for the instruction of the human family ; and by those 
who profess in general terms to admit such interference, 
but whose views, as developed in their exposition of 
particular cases, evince that they have no definite or 
fixed belief in its reahty. Of the two classes of per- 
sons, the former is certainly the more consistent ; for 
to allow that the Scriptures contain a Divine revela- 
tion, and yet, in endeavouring to account for the 
peculiar phenomena connected with individual instances 
in which this revelation is asserted to have been made, 
to explain them away, or so to lower them as to bring 
them within the range of events — remarkable, indeed, 
in their character, but not beyond the power of natural 


causation, is to demolish with the one hand what they 
build with the other ; and it would be acting a much 
more honourable, as well as a more consistent part, to 
reject the Scriptures altogether, and constitute the 
pure dictates of human reason, if such could be ascer- 
tained, the only standard of belief and practice. 

It would seem absolutely impossible for any person 
who should peruse the Bible for the first time, and 
who should put upon its language such a construction 
as he would upon the language of any other book com- 
posed about the same time, and by persons circumstanced 
as the sacred writers profess to have been, to arrive at 
any other conclusion than that of a real celestial inter- 
position having taken place in all those instances in 
which the Deity is said to have spoken, or to have 
revealed himself to certain persons specifically men- 
tioned in the narrative. Such, in point of fact, is the 
construction universally put upon the language, not 
only by plain and ordinary readers, but also by persons 
of cultivated minds, who come to the perusal of the 
Scriptures unbiassed by hypothetical reasonings ; and 
it must be obvious that, if such be not the doctrine 
which these writings were designed to teach, no lan- 
guage could have been adopted that was more likely to 
lead mankind into error than that which is there 

The agent by whom, according to the express state- 
ments of revelation, the influence in question was 
exerted, is the Holy Spirit, or that distinct personal 
Subsistent, of whom Divine names, properties, and acts 
are predicated, and who, in conjunction with the 
Father and the Son, constitutes the one only God. 


The propriety of the name Uyevfia, thus given to him, 
does not appear to be founded on any spiration, emis- 
sion, or breathing, as an internal personal characteristic, 
descriptive of the mode in which it has been asserted 
the Divine nature was communicated to him by the 
Father and the Son.^ The only passage of Scripture 
to which an appeal has been made in favour of this 
hypothesis is John xv. 26, where our Lord promises, 
" when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto 
" you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which 
" proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me," 
but in which no mind, uninfluenced by a speculative 
bias, or unaccustomed to scholastic or philosophical 
distinctions, could ever have discovered any reference 
to an immanent act in the nature of Deity ; since 
the subject spoken of is the coming forth of the Holy 
Spirit, in the exercise of the functions ascribed to him 
in the economy of redemption, which was to take 
place after the ascension of Christ to glory. Indeed, 
this view of the passage is now adopted by all inter- 
preters of Scripture of any note. But though the 
etymological import of the term Spirit, as applied to 
the Third Person of the Trinity, cannot be pressed 
into the service of metaphysical divinity, it would 
be unfair to conclude that no use whatever is to be 
made of it, or that the word itself is entirely destitute 
of force as applied to this Divine Person. That it is not 
given to hirti simply to denote his pure immateriality, 
seems evident from the consideration that, however it 
might thus serve to distinguish him from the Son, who 
united the humanity to his eternal spiritual nature, 

(1) See Note C. 


{■jTvevfxa alujviov, Heb. ix. 14,) it would not distinguish 
him from the Father, whose spirituality is equally 
absolute with that possessed by the Holy Ghost. It 
can only, therefore, be applied to him in this appro- 
priate personal sense in reference to his operations, 
which, as it regards both the natural and the spiritual 
world, are compared to those carried on by means of 
the wind acting upon the objects with which it is brought 
into contact. " The Spirit of God moved upon the 
" face of the waters." " The wind bloweth where it 
" listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst 
" not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth : so is 
" every one that is born of the Spirit." (Gen. i. 2 ; 
John iii. 8.) He is the Author of aU vivifying, puri- 
fying, and enlightening influences ; and, specially with 
respect to our present subject, by his inspiration, or 
Divine inbreathing, were the prophets and apostles 
qualified and enabled to communicate the mind of God 
to mankind. Hence the circumstance, to which suffi- 
cient attention has not been paid, that, in numerous 
passages of the New Testament the term Spirit is by 
metonymy applied to his agency, or to the effects 
wliich resulted from that agency, as made to bear upon 
the extraordinary qualification of the first teachers of 
the gospel. 

On the subject of Divine Revelation in general, and 
on that of the influence specially exerted on the minds 
of those by whom the Scriptures were penned, no 
small diversity of opinion has obtained. To those who 
repudiate the claims of revelation altogether, are 
usually given the names of Deists and Naturalists; 


and to those who profess to believe in the Divine 
authority of the Bible, but explain away its miracles, 
prophecies, inspiration, and all its peculiar doctrines — 
reducing the whole to mere ordinary phenomena, 
popular prejudice, prudent accommodation, or pliilo- 
sophical hypothesis — is given that of Rationalists, 
which in reality differs from the former designations 
only in so far as it points to human reason, or more 
properly speaking, individual opinion, as the standard 
to which every thing connected with religious belief is 
to be submitted. The naturalists may be divided into 
two classes — Deists, strictly so called, who avow their 
belief in one extra-mundane spiritual principle, from 
whose creative impulse the powers and laws of nature 
originally proceeded ; and Materialists, or Pantheists, 
who place the primitive cause of things in corporeal 
substance, or, carrying out and refining upon this 
principle, consider the universe itself to be p^od. 

Though some vague traces of Deism may be dis- 
covered in opinions broached in the earlier ages of the 
Church, it was not till the middle of the sixteenth 
century that its principles were openly avowed ; — first, 
by a number of persons in France and Italy, who are 
supposed to have assumed the name in order to prevent 
their opposition to all religion from being branded 
with the odious character of Atheism ; and afterwards 
by individuals in different countries of Europe. No- 
where, however, did they obtain a firmer footing than 
in this country, in which, during the greater part of 
the two following centuries, they were propagated 
with indefatigable zeal, chiefly in the shape of attacks 
on the Jewish and Christian Scriptures, but partly 


also in specious attempts to recommend the suffi- 
ciency of the light of nature. By the great leader 
of the party, Lord Herbert of Cherbury, Deism 
was first formed into a system ; and a few funda- 
mental articles were selected as comprehending the 
Avhole of religion, to the entire exclusion of extra- 
ordinary manifestations of the Divine will, which he 
considered to be altogether unnecessary. Hobbes, 
Blount, Shaftesbury, Collins, Woolston, Tindal, Mor- 
gan, Chubb, BoUngbroke, and Hume, successively 
appeared as the antagonists of revelation, and attempted, 
with a degree of acuteness, learning, and eloquence, 
which was only equalled by consummate cunning and 
sophistry, to invalidate its evidences, expose its doc- 
trines, impugn its morality, and supersede its necessity. 
Yet, met as they were by Baxter, Halyburton, Clarke, 
Jones, Lardner, the Chandlers, Sherlock, Chapman, 
Doddridge, Butler, Campbell, and numerous other able 
apologists of Christianity, the influence of their writ- 
ings was greatly checked ; and till the period of the 
French Revolution, little Avas done to revive the 
controversy. Nor are the efforts that have since been 
employed of a character calculated to produce any 
effect on men of enlightened and reflecting minds. 
They can only prove dangerous to those whose 
means of information are scanty, or who have an awful 
interest to serve by succumbing to the principles of 

The result of the contest was very different on the 
continent, especially in Germany. Not only were 
some of our principal Deistical works translated into 
the language of that country at the time, without any- 



thing of a counteractive tendency sufficiently powerful 
making its appearance ; but the materials which they 
furnished have been the stores whence most of the 
modern means of attack on revelation have been sup- 
plied. Many of them, indeed, have been modelled into 
new forms, according to the various systems of philo- 
sophy which have prevailed ; but notwithstanding the 
strange metamorphoses of transcendentalism through 
which they have passed, they still retain a distinctness 
of features that sufficiently connects them with the 
family from which they sprang. Some of the strongest 
arguments that have been employed by Bahrdt, Teller, 
Loffler, Reimar, Paulus, Wegscheider, and Rohr, are to 
be found in the writings of our English Deists. It 
was from our native shores that the noxious breath of 
infidelity was wafted across the sea to empoison the 
atmosphere of German theology ; so that to whatever 
extent that theology has become impregnated with its 
pestiferous qualities, and how loud soever we may be 
in our condemnation of its influence, we must not forget 
that British infidels are primarily the subjects of 

The history of the doctrine of Inspiration, viewed in 
its more restricted acceptation, as applied to the Divine 
influence enjoyed by the sacred writers, or the con- 
sequent authority stamped upon the productions of 
their pens, is of much wider extent, and far more 
fruitful in scientific results. In the sketch with which 
it is proposed to occupy the remainder of the time 
allotted to this Lecture, it is not our intention to com- 
prehend those views of the subject which are furnished 


by the Scriptures themselves, as the statements which 
they present, strictly belong to the head of sacred 
proofs, which will come to be considered on a future 
occasion. It will be confined to the testimonies of 
men who lay no claim to extraordinary supernatural 
influence, or on whose behalf no such claim is advanced. 
In conducting this inquiry, we shall first examine the 
opinions held by the Jews, and then those which have 
been broached by Christian writers. 

The earliest recognition of the doctrine by any 
uninspired Jewish writer is that found in the book of 
Ecclesiasticus, written about 180 years B.C. Besides 
references throughout this work to the revelations 
of the Divine will committed to the posterity of 
Abraham, there is a distinct ascription of the gift of 
prophecy to Moses, Joshua, Samuel, Nathan, Elijah, 
Isaiah, and other messengers of God ; and Xdym, 
divine oracles, are particularly mentioned, ch. xxxvi. 
xlv. xlix. 

In the writings of Philo, who flourished at Alexan- 
dria in the time of Christ and his apostles, the subject 
is repeatedly treated of, and a decided opinion is 
expressed respecting the degree of sacred influence 
which was exerted on the penmen of Scripture, and 
the state of their minds during the continuance of 
celestial communications. That a writer so fertile in 
imagination, so prone to allegorize, and so deeply im- 
bued with the Platonic philosophy, should at times have 
expressed himself in terms which imply a belief that 
others besides Moses and the prophets, himself not 
excluded, were the subjects of Divine inspiration, 
cannot be deemed strange. Similar language is fre- 


quently to be met with in the earlier fathers. But 
that he drew a broad line of distinction between the 
inspiration of the former and that of the latter, is 
evident from the paramount authority which he uni- 
formly ascribes to the sacred Scriptures, and the 
explicit manner in which he points out the source 
whence they emanated. In his book, "De Vita Mosis," 
he divides inspiration into two species : Ipfi-qvEia, In- 
terpretation, and 7rpo(f)r]reia, Prophecy. Those who 
enjoyed the former received immediately from God 
either communications which were totally unexpected 
on their part, or communications in answer to questions 
put in order to obtain them. The latter he restricts 
to the ability to predict future events, which he uncon- 
ditionally attributes to Divine influence, and considers 
those who were favoured with it to be also interpreters 
of the will of God, but subordinate or inferior to those 
who were such in a pre-eminent sense. The prophetic 
state during an illapse he thus describes : " While our 
" own intellect shines Avith full effect, pouring into our 
" whole soul a meridian splendour, and we are in a 
" state of self-possession, we are not the subjects of 
" inspiration ; but in proportion as it disappears, a 
" divine ecstacy and prophetic phrensy falls upon 
" us. For when the Divine light shines, the human 
" sets ; and when the former goes down, the latter 
" rises. Thus it usually happens in prophecy. Our 
" own intellect departs on the arrival of the Divine 
" Spirit, and on his departure it again returns ; for it 
" is not proper that the mortal and immortal should 
" dwell together. On which account the disappearance 
" of reason, and the darkness which surrounds it, is 


" followed by an ecstasy and divine fury." ' From this 
passage it clearly appears that Philo regarded the 
absolute cessation of mental activity on the part of the 
persons inspired as indispensable to their reception of 
supernatural influence. The same principle is re- 
peatedly advanced when prophecy is the subject of 
discourse, but nowhere more explicitly than in his 
Third Book de Specialibus Legibus : " For a prophet," 
he says, " advances nothing whatever of his own ; he 
" is merely the interpreter of another, by whom he is 
" actuated all the time he is speaking ; and while he is 
" the subject of Divine enthusiasm, he is in a state of 
" ignorance (or mental alienation) ; reason has retired ; 
" the citadel of the soul has capitulated : the Spirit of 
" God coming into and occupying it, acts upon the 
" whole mechanism of the voice, and imparts to it 
" those sounds by which there shall be a clear enunci- 
" ation of the things predicted." * 

To Moses the highest place is assigned by Philo, 
who not only designates him a Prophet^ and a Hiero- 

(1.) "Ew? fj.f:v oiiv ert irepiXafiwei Kal TreptnoXeT rifjLwv 6 voZi, fiea-t^fx/Spivov ola 
<^e7709 el? naaav Ttjv ^vx'iv avaxeo^v, t-u eavToTs oi/rer, ov KarexofieOa, 
eireidav de irpoi dvar/jiai 'Yevt)Tat, Kara to cIkos eKcrracrii f) evOeos ewc^imet, 
KaroxuTiKri re Kal ftavLa. "Ore nev fap <pSos eniXdfi^j/ei to Belov, bverai ro 
dv6pd)irivov, ore 5' eKeivo Suet, rovr dviaxet Kal dvareWei. Tip 5e ■Kpo(pt]TiKio 
yeuet (piXeX tovto aviJi/3aiveiv' e^oiKi^eTai fxev yap ev tifuv 6 vovi, Kara rrjv rov 
Oeiov TTveuyuaroy d(pi^tv, Kara de rrjv fxeravdaTaacv ainov, ndXiv eiaroKi^eTai. 
Qefii? yap oiiK ecm 0vt)r6v aOavdru) ffvvoiKriarai' Sect tovto fj dv (ris tov \oyi(TiJiov 
Kai TO Trept avTov CKoTor, eKcnaacv Kai 0eo<p6prirov fxaviav eyevrjae. — Quis 
Rerum Divinarum Haeres. Edit. Mangeii, Tom. i. p. 511. 

(2) npo0/;Tii? T6 ixev yap ovbev Idiov dno(paiveTai to irapdnav, dW ecTTiv 
epnt^vew, vTTo/ldWovTOs erepov navO' oara npo^epei, Kai Ka6' ov xpovov evOov 
a-t^ yeyovw9 kv dyvoia, fxeTavia-Tafxevov /.lev tov \oyi(Tfxov, Kai irapaKexf^pri- 
KOTOi T>]v rm ^vxhs dKponoXiv' eTrnre^otTHKoro? 6e Kai evoiKtjKOTos tov Oeiov 
irvev/xaroQ, Kai Traaav tJjj ^dii'riv bpyavoTrottav KpouovTOi, Kai evrixovvros el? 
evapyTi drjXojaiv uv TrpoOeairi^ei.—Toin. ii. p. 343. 

(3) npo(pr]Trts. 


pliant/ but "the most eminent of prophets," 2 and 
makes the prophetic spirit with which he was endowed 
the standard to which that of all other prophets was to 
be referred. His books he calls "the prophetic word,"^ 
"sacred books,"* "oracles,"^ and scarcely ever cites 
them without introducing his quotations by the use of 
the most exalted terms. He likewise mentions most of 
the other sacred writers in language which indicates 
his perfect conviction of their having enjoyed a special 
Divine inspiration. 

Entertaining such ultra views on the nature of inspi- 
ration, it cannot occasion surprise that he should 
eagerly have adopted the fable of Aristeas, and ascribed 
to the Seventy Greek translators the same supernatural 
influence which he does to the original writers, or that 
he should lay great stress on the selection and colloca- 
tion of the Greek words, and even the etymologies 
of Greek words, between which and the Hebrew 
he could trace any resemblance. He evidently held 
the universal verbal inspiration of Scripture in the 
strictest sense of the term. 

Though the doctrine is nowhere expressly treated of 
by Josephus, yet his works contain numerous recog- 
nitions of his belief, and that of his nation, in the 
fact, that their sacred books were not of human inven- 
tion, but the result of express communications on the 
part of the Deity. That Moses enjoyed immediate 
intercourse with heaven is implied in phraseology 
occurring on almost every page, which describes him 

(1) 'lepo^ai/T>)f. (2) AoKt/iaiTOTor twv Trpo^rirSv. 

(3) npo^rjTtKor Xo-yos;, (4) 'I^pa* (3i.l3\oi, 

(5) Xp»;(TM«u 


as holding a Divine commission,^ receiving Divine 
commands,^ acting by Divine authority,^ favoured 
with Divine manifestations,* and endowed by God 
with the gift of predicting future events.^ The laws 
which he ordained were of Divine dictation.^ What 
he inculcated he was himself taught by God,^ and the 
whole Jewish constitution of which he was the ad- 
ministrator, and which he consigned to writing, he 
received by Divine communications at Sinai. ^ The 
sacred books of the Jews, which he enumerates, he 
declares to be justly believed to be divine,^ and ac- 
counts for the discontinuance of inspired communica- 
tions by the circumstance, that, after the reign of 
Artaxerxes, there existed no prophets who could 
regularly establish their claim to a Divine commission. 
He adds, that it was, so to speak, an innate principle 
with all the Jews to regard the contents of these books 
as instructions from God,^" to which they adhered with 
constancy, and for which, if required, they would 
willingly lay down their life. 

From the professed respect which the later Jews 
have uniformly manifested for the sacred books of the 

(1) UefxfpOei vn efiov. — Antiq. Jud. lib. ii. cap. xii. 3. 

(2) Oeov TrpoaTdyfiara. — Cap. xiiL 4. 

(3) Qeov Ke\eu(TavTOi. — Cap. xv. 3. 

(4) 'Opwv Ti]v kmcpdveiav rov Qeov. — Cap. xvi. 2. 

(5) ArjXoI 6e kv t<^ lep(f dvaKetfxevr) ypa<p>] tov Qeov Mwvo-rj npoenreiv. — Lib. 
ill. cap. i. 7 . 

(6) Kara Ttjv virayo^evffiv tov Qeov cvverdrTeTO. — Cap. viii. 8. 

(7) ' kvefxcivOave irapd. tov Qeov. — Antiq. Jud. lib. iii- cap. 12. 

(8) 'Eft/ia^e Trapot tov Qeov, Kai Tolf 'E^paiot^ '/eypafj.fxevt^v Trapa6i6ina-iv. — 
Cap, xii. 3. 

(9) Ta diKalui 6e7a TrenicTevfieva.— Contra. Apion. lib. i. 8. 
(10) Qeov dofnaTa. — Ibid. 


Old Testament, it might be exjDected that the subject 
would be fully discussed in the Talmud ; but the 
ponderous load of traditionary rules and precepts with 
which that immense work is charged, has left little or 
no room for the introduction of this or similar topics. 
At the same time occasional hints are dropped, or 
general statements are made, from which we may 
fairly infer what were the opinions of the writers. 
Thus, when they assert, that of five things in which 
the second temple was deficient, one was \m"iprr mi, the 
Holy SjmHt,^ it is clearly implied that the nation 
formerly enjoyed the benefit of that divine influence. 
They, in fact, vindicate this influence to the writers of 
the Old Testament, by declaring, that, when the last 
of the prophets, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, died, 
the Holy Spirit was taken away from Israel.^ That 
they believed in absolute verbal inspiration appears 
from a passage in the Gemara on the Treatise San- 
hedrin, in which they scruple not to denounce the loss 
of paradise against any who should be of a different 

By no Jewish writer has Inspiration been treated 
of to a greater extent than by the celebrated Rambam, 
or Moses Maimonides. This author, who was of an 
illustrious family at Cordova in Spain, flourished in 
Egypt in the latter half of the twelfth century, and 
distinguished himself by his proficiency in all kinds of 

(1) miQDTp-iw ]niiii ':t:j -^npob pint^n ©ipo prn-iO D'-in nvr^rj ibs< 
D-'Dim nmsji 'iDl^p•n rmi nootJi ^j<» d'^ti^i— Cod. loma, foi. 21. 6. 

(2) : bsnuj'o ^-\^■pr^ mi np':nD: 'n^'jm nnDT 'an D'2"nnj< cs^a: inmrn 

— Rab. Azariah in lib. Imre binah. 

(3) Tollner's gottliche Eingebung der heiligen Schrift, p. 21. 


sacred and profane learning. Both in his work en- 
titled Moreh Nevochim, which he composed for the 
purpose of reconciling the doctrines and institutions 
of the Hebrew Scriptures with the principles of human 
philosophy, and in his Yad Hahhazakah, he expatiates 
at some length on the topic. According to the system 
which he lays down, there were, properly speaking, 
two degrees of inspiration — the Gradus Mosaicus, 
which was the highest and most perfect, and consisted 
in a direct divine illumination of the intellect without 
the intervention of angelic agency, or the influence of 
the imaginative faculty; and the other, the Gradus 
Propheticus, which he divides into the following sub- 
ordinate degrees. 1. The illapse of the Spirit of 
power, as in the case of the Judges, who were thereby 
qualified to perform supernatural deeds. 2. The assist- 
ance afforded to some of the sacred writers and others, 
by which they were enabled, in a calm and serene 
state of mind, to compose psalms, moral precepts, and 
matters of a political and ecclesiastical character. 

3. The presentation of parabolic visions and their in- 
terpretation to the mind of a prophet in dreams. 

4. The production of a prophetic dream, strictly so 
called, in which the person inspired distinctly heard 
a voice, but did not perceive the speaker. 5. The 
appearance of a human being, who conversed with a 
prophet in a dream, as Ezek. xl. 4, 6. 6. Angelic 
communications in a dream. 7. The appearance of 
Jehovah himself in a dream. 8. The impartation of 
prophetic matter during a vision. 9. The production 
of an audible voice on such an occasion. 10. Sensible 
converse on the part of a divine messenger with the 


recipient, while in a prophetic daj-clream. 1 1 . Angelic 
converse in a waking state. ^ 

The second of these subdivisions coincides with 
what the Jews usually characterise by the name of 
■OTipn nn, the Holy Spirit, by which they understand 
a supernatural influence exerted upon persons, exciting 
and enabling them to discourse or write on various 
topics in a strain in which they would not have done, 
had they been left to their own native ability. The 
very terms in which they expressed themselves were 
essentially different from any to wliich they had been 
accustomed, or such as they had not acquired in an 
ordinary way. To this degree of inspiration Maimo- 
nides expressly refers the composition of the Psalms 
by David, the Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of 
Solomon, the books of Daniel, Job, the Chronicles, and 
the rest of the Hagiographa ; and accounts for their 
receiving this designation from the fact, that they were 
written by the Holy Spirit.^ 

Between Moses, who enjoyed the supreme degree of 
supernatural influence, and inferior prophets, the Rabbi 
thus distinguishes : — Moses received all his revelations 
in a waking state, whereas they received theirs in 
dreams and visions. His were derived immediately 
from God himself: theirs were received through the 
ministry of angels. The communications with which 
he was favoured produced no perturbation or astonish- 
ment in his mind: the prophets were the subjects of 
fear and agitation. With him the gift of prophecy 

(1) a^DIlD nmo- Edit. Buxtorf. Pars II. cap. xlv. p. 315. Basil. 1629. 
Carpzovii Introd. ad Libros Canon. Bibl. V. T. ill. p. 14. 

(2) Ut sup. p. 319 


was permanent, so that he could, without preparation, 
exercise it whenever he chose ; but in them it was only 
occasional, and required certain predispositions of mind.^ 
Modifications of these views are found in the works 
of Albo, Nachman, Abarbanel, Kimchi, and other Rab- 
bins;^ but how much soever they may differ from 
Maimonides, and from each other, on minor points 
connected with the doctrine, they are unanimous in 
attributing infallible divine influence to the writers of 
the Hebrew Scriptures. 

Passing on to the christian writers by whom the 
doctrine is recognised, it may be proper to repeat the 
remark which we made when adverting to the sen- 
timents of Philo, that, while some of them may occa- 
sionally speak of themselves as the subjects of inspira- 
tion, it is nevertheless evident they never meant to be 
understood as placing themselves on a level with the 
sacred penmen. All they intended by the expression 
was, the gracious instruction and direction, which, 
according to the Scriptures, every one is warranted to 
expect, who sincerely and humbly applies to God for 
the guidance of his Holy Spirit. To this remark there 
is one exception in the case of Hermas, one of the 
Apostolical Fathers, who, in his " Pastor," pretends to 
have been favoured with visions and angelic revela- 
tions, and speaks of inspiration with a degree of fami- 
liarity which sufficiently indicates the entire absence 
of the quality to which he lays claim. 

(1) Bernard's Main Principles of the Creed and Ethics of the Jews, pp. 
116—118. London, 1832. 

(2) Smith's Select Discourses, p. 247, &c. London, 1831. 


In the Epistles of Barnabas and Clement of Rome, 
the contents of Scripture are introduced by the formu- 
las—" The Lord saith," " God saith," " Thus saith 
the Holy Spirit."^ The latter calls the Scriptures, 
" the holy oracles of God," and exhorts the Corin- 
thians to study them, in language which unequivocally 
evinces his conviction of their inspiration : " Look 
" unto the holy Scriptures, which are the true words 
" of the Holy Ghost. Ye know that nothing unjust 
" or counterfeit is Avritten in them."^ And reminding 
them of what I^aul had addressed to them in his first 
Epistle, he writes : " Take into your hands the Epistle 
" of the blessed Apostle Paul. What did he write to 
" you at the beginning of the gospel ? Assuredly 
" what he wrote to you was by the Spirit. ''^'^ In his 
Epistle to the Magnesians, Ignatius, speaking of the 
holy prophets, declares that they were inspired by the 
grace of Christ fully to convince unbelievers of the 
unity of God.^ 

The view taken of the subject by Justin Martyr is 
sufficiently evident from the two parallel passages in 
his first Apology, in which, when affirming that the 
Christians worshipped the Father, the Son, and the 
Spirit, he represents the Third Person as the author 

(1) Barnabas further expresses his belief in the inspiration of the sacred 
writers by such declarations as the following ; — Xefei elr t>/i/ Kapbiav MMatj 
TO irvtufia ; — fc'\a/3e Trapa Kvpiou ra^ 6vo TrXa/caj feypafifxevai ru> daKzvXtf) rJjr 
Xetpoy Kvpiov ei/ Trcei'/iarj ; — 7f7pa7rTa< 7ap, Trwy avrtjj 6 irarrjp evTeWerat ; — 
e^' ovy TO Trvevfjia nroifxaore. — Edit. Cotel. vol. i. pp. 39, 42, 43, 52. 

(2) 'E'{KinneTe elr Tar 7pa^af, ras uXriOeis {ptjo-en) nveviJiaros tov ayiov. 
'EniffTuaBe ort ovdev adiKov ovdb napaneTrotrtiJievov fiypaTnai tv avTait, — 
Cotel. vol. i. p. 174. 

(3) en' iiXriOeiai TrveviJ-aTiiioof! eTreo-retXev v/jlTv. — Ibid. p. 175. 

(4) kfiTTveofxevot vtto t>jj x<'^ptT09 aiirov elf to ■iT\ripO(popriOrjvai Toiit 

u-K€iOoui'-a^.—Cap: viii. 


of that divine influence which the prophets enjoyed. 
His words are, "We also worship the Proj)hetic 
Spirit"^ He declares that "there were among the 
" Jews certain men who were prophets of God, 
" by whom the Prophetic Spirit proclaimed future 
" events before they came to pass :" and in almost 
every chapter the same epithet is employed. Of 
Isaiah he expressly affirms, that he was inspired 
" by the spirit of prophecy ;" and shortly after adds 
— " Now when ye hear the sayings of the prophets 
" read, imagine not that they are spoken by the in- 
" spired writers themselves, but by the Divine Word, 
" who moved them ;"^ which latter statement may be 
reconciled with the former on the principle suggested 
by Bishop Kaye, that the Logos was regarded as the 
conductor of the economy of Divine grace from the 
beginning, though the Holy Spirit was the immediate 
agent. If the hortatory address to the Greeks was 
really written by Justin, which is questioned, however, 
by the learned prelate just referred to, Du Pin, and 
others, we have from his pen a description of the 
organic nature of inspiration, which would seem to 
have served as a model according to which the phrase- 
ology of many later writers was formed. " It was 
" only necessary," he says, " for the prophets to sur- 
" render themselves entirely to the operation of the 
" Divine Spirit ; that the divine plectrum descending 
" from heaven, and using the instrumentality of just 

(1) Tlvevfia re ro npo<pr\Tiii6v <Te/36fie9a Kai Trpoo-Kuvovjuev. — Apol. ii. p. 56. 
Lutet. Paris, 1615. 

(2) "Orav 6e tcc? Xefei? rtjov Trpo<pr]Tii)v Xeyofxeva? wv cnro npoirwTrov aKovriTC, 
HI] uw' avTwv Twv kimnvevafxevwv XtyeaOai vo/jt(7r]Te, uW utto rov KivovvTOi 
ai/Tovi Oeiov \6yov. — Ibid. p. 76. 


" men, as of a harp or lyre, should reveal to us the 
*' knowledge of divine and heavenly things." ^ Similar 
language is employed by Athenagoras, and Theophilus 
of Antioch — the former of whom asserts respecting the 
inspiration of the prophets, that the Spirit from God 
moved their mouths, like instruments, making use of 
them as a musician does of his flute.^ Nor can any 
language more powerfully express a belief in the doc- 
trine than that employed by the last-mentioned writer : 
" The men of God," he writes, '* actuated by the 
" Holy Spirit, and prophets being inspired and made 
" wise by God himself, became divinely taught, holy 
" and righteous, on which account they were deemed 
" worthy of this recompense — to be the organs of God; 
" and receiving wisdom from him, they spake by the 
" same wisdom, both of what related to the creation of 
" the world, and of all other things."^ 

Irenaeus, who flourished about the same time with 
the preceding writers, Tertullian, Dionysius, and 
Clement of Alexandria, abound in statements respecting 
the Holy Scriptures, which show that they considered 
them to have been written by special supernatural 
influence. And though Tertullian imbibed the fanatical 
notions of Montanus, and occasionally makes use of 

(1) u/Wci KaOapo'i^ eauToir ri] rov Oeiov TrvevfxaTO^ irapaax^^^ evepjeia, 

i'l/' avTo TO OeXou ef oiipavov Kartov nXmrpov, ilxnrep hpydvw KiOapas rtvoy rj 
Xvpa^, ToT? diKaioii avdpdci xpwuevov, Ttjv rwv Oeiav hfJ-'tv nai ovpaviav anoKa- 
\v^r} '(vwffiv. — Ibid. p. 9. 

(2) rui irapu rov Qeov Trvey/xart, wf opyava KeKivmon ra tZv 'jrpo<pr]TU)v 

arofiaTa. — Legatio, Ibid. App. p. 8. 

(3) Oi de rov Oeov av6pt>)noi Trveu/xaro^opot Trvei' /nary r aylov, Kal npocptiTai 
yevoiJievoc, vn avrov rov Oeov k^irvevcOevre^, nal <To<pcffdi:vre<: eyevovro 
BeobidaKrot, Kal baiot Ka'i dmaioc. 6t6 /cat Karri^iwOt^crav rijv avnuicrOiav 
ravrnv Xa^el^v, iipyava Geov fevofievoi, Kal xwptVavTC? aocplav rijv Trap' aiirov, 
di' r)i ao(pia7 elnov Kal rd nepl rij^ KTiVecor rov Koafiov, Kal rwv Xoinuiv 
undvruv, — Ibid. pp. 87, 88. 


unwarrantably strong expressions respecting his own 
possession of the Spirit, he always maintained the 
paramount authority of the Bible as the word of God. 
Origen appears to have been the first of the fathers 
who took a more minute and definite view of the sub- 
ject. This extraordinary man, whose application to 
biblical study has never been equalled in any age, was 
necessarily called, in the course of his writings, to state 
without reserve the light in which he regarded it. 
We accordingly meet with it in many parts of his 
works, especially in his Books against Celsus, and in 
the chapter of the Philocalia, which is headed — " The 
Inspiration of the Divine Scriptures." He not only 
speaks of Moses and the Jewish prophets having the 
Spirit of God, and of its being a matter of belief with 
the Jews that they spoke by his afflatus, but pointedly 
asserts, that the same Spirit who taught Moses the 
things which had happened before his time, also taught 
those who wrote the gospel ; and, on this account, 
scruples not to call both the prophets and apostles 
" Divine men."^ He ascribes the language of Isaiah 
to the Holy Spirit ;^ declares that it is only necessary 
to peruse the writings of the prophets to be persuaded 
that the Spirit of God was in them ;^ maintains that 
the apostles taught Christianity in virtue of a divine 
power ;* and repeatedly extends inspiration in express 
terms to the whole volume. 5 No person, he afiirms, 
can read it w^th diligent attention, without being him- 
self in some degree sensible of the inspiration which 
is inherent in it, or feehng convinced that its contents 

(1) Contra Celsum, lib. i. p. 33. Ed. Spenceri. '(2) P. 42. 

(3) Ibid. lib. viii. p. 409. (4) Lib. i. p. 48. 

(5) Philocal. cap i. pp. 22, 23. 


are the words of God, and not human compositions.^ 
He contrasts the inspiration which the writers enjoyed 
with the pretended afflatus of the heathen priests, and 
shows that they had nothing in common.^ 

That Origen was a believer in the verbal inspiration 
of the Scriptures, is evident from two passages in his 
Commentaries. In that on the first Psalm, he expressly 
declares that the Holy Spirit subjected the word to 
the most rigid trial, when communicating it through 
those who were selected to be its ministers, in 
order that we might be convinced, by the analogy 
of the process with that employed by a refiner in 
purifying metals, that Divine inspiration was extended 
to the minutest letter : to which he thinks our Lord 
probably refers, when he says, " One jot or one tittle 
shall in no wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled." 
(Matt. V. 18.) He then institutes a comparison with 
the natural world, in which small as well as great 
things are the result of the Divine operations ; and 
concludes, that whatever was written under an afflatus 
of the Spirit, was inserted with a view to the salvation 
of men, and that every letter contains a trace of wis- 
dom according to the capacity of the recipient.^ In 
his Thirty-ninth Homily on Jeremiah, he argues from 

(I) Philocal. cap. i. p. 5. (2) Contra Celsum, lib. vii. p. 333. 

(3) El de TO. Xoyia Kvpiov Xoyca ayva, apyvpiov neirvpufjievov, doKi^iov rtj ytj, 
KeKaOapicrfievov €TrTaTrXa<Tto<:' kui fxcTa Trao'iiS' aKpi/Seta? e^riTaa/jLtvooi to ayiov 
TTvevfxa vnoj3ej3\r\Kev avrn 6ia rwv VTrripeTwv rov \6yov, fxt] irore Kai rifiai 
dia(p€vye h dvaKoyia, KaO' riv eni izaaav €<j>i)a(re ypa<pi]v rj aocpia rov Oeov 
Oeonvevarov jUtxP' '''ov rvxavro^ ypafifxaTOi. — -"Oi/ rpoirov yap . . . ovtu)^ hfJ-eT^ 
v7ro\afji/3av6fj.ev wepi ttc'ivtuv tuiv ef eiriTrvoia^ tov ayiov irvevy-aroi dvaye- 
ypafifievuv, ws rri^ enididovat)^ t^jv vnep avBpumov ffotpiav tepof npovoia^ dia 
Twi' ypafifidTtov ro) yevei rCbv dvOpwirutv \6yta ao}Tr]pia, tvecrTrapKt'taj, w? Uttiv 
eineiv, f-ndart^ ypd/jL/j-aTi Kara to eviexofJievov 'ix^l T^jr aoipia^. — Philocal. 
cap. ii. p. 23. 


our being commanded to suffer no idle vford to proceed 
out of our mouth, and from the use to be made of all 
kinds of herbs for medicinal purposes, that a wonderful 
power attaches to every word which proceeded from 
the mouths of the prophets, and that there is not a jot, 
or the smallest element of Scripture, which is destitute 
of meaning.^ The design of Origen in thus asserting 
a literal inspiration, obviously was to lay more securely 
the foundations of the allegorical system of interpreta- 
tion, which he had adopted from his predecessors in 
the Alexandrian school. On no other principle did he 
imagine it was possible to conciliate the good opinion 
of philosophers, than that of attaching a spiritual 
meaning to the minutest circumstance occurring in the 
historical books of Scripture. 

Though not canonized by the sainted fathers, who 
succeeded him, many of them availed themselves of the 
materials for spiritualizing which they found in the 
works of Origen ; and, with scarcely any exception, 
they appear to have approved of the extent to which 
he carried his views of the doctrine before us. In the 
writings of Athanasius, Eusebius,^ Basil the G-reat, the 

(1) Kai ov OavfiaaTov €1 irav prina to XaXoi'/xevov hiro twv irpocpn-wv 

eif/'id^ero epyov to irpenov pijiiaTc' ctAXa yap oifiai on Kai ttZv Oav/jLOKTiav 
7pa/iijua TO 7e7pajLi^i6i/oi' kv roTi \oyioii tov Oeov kpyaCeTat. Kal ovk 'icrriv Xwra 
ev, ri ixia Kepaia ye'^pajj.fxivr] ev rij "^patpr}, nrt^ toI^ !:TrL<TTap.evot? x(>h<^Oai rij 
6vvdii€i Twi/ yfjafx/jLciToiv ouK epyd^eTai to eaurTir t'p7ov. — Philocal. cap. ii. p. 37. 

(2) The testimony of Eusebius is too important to be omitted here : — 
o'l Oeaneatoi /cat wi aXriOw^ OeoirpeTreTs, <(>r\ix'i de tov XptffTov tovs owtoo-toAoit. 
TOV fiiov aKpcdf KeKaOapjJievoi, Kai upeTr/ Trdcrjj tu? yf/vxas KeKoajjiijfxevoi, Tfjv 
6t yXuiTTav idi(i)TeiiovTei, Trj ye fiijv Trpoy tou o-WT^jpoy avToi? deduiprifjievr] 6eia 
Kai irapado^onoKp dwcifxei OapcrovvTCi, to fxev ev ireptvola Kal tex^'V Xoywv tu 
Toil diOacKfiXov ixa6l]fiaTa 7rpea/3eveLV, oi're rjdeaav outc evexetpovv. Tfj be 
TOV Qeiov TTvei'ifxaTOi tov o-vvepyoTjno^ avToti cnrodil^ei, Kac Trj 5i' ai/Twv 
a-vvTeXov/jievri OavfxaTovpyiv tov XpicTTOv dvvdjjiei /jiovt] XP'''M^'""> tJ?? twv 
ovpavCov j3aat\ela^ tijv yvwaiv eiri 7ra<rav KaT>';77eXXoi/ t'ijv o'lKovfievriv.-— 
Eccles. Hist. lib. ni. cap. xxiv. 



two Gregories, Jerome, Augustine, Chiysostom, and 
others who flourished in the fourth century, numerous 
passages occur in which it is vindicated, and placed in 
contrast "vvith the notions which prevailed on the sub- 
ject of inspiration in the pagan world. At the same 
time it cannot be denied that passages are also to be 
met with, especially in Augustine and Jerome, from 
which it is evident there were occasions on which they 
were compelled to modify their views. Thus the 
former of these fathers accounts for the variations 
which are found in many parts of the Gospels on the 
principle, that each writer exercised his mental facul- 
ties, and presented his own peculiar aspect of facts and 
circumstances ; though, as they were all under the 
superintendence of the Spirit, it was impossible that 
any falsehood or error could be admitted into their 
writings.^ A similar statement was made at a later 
period by Euthymius Zigabenus, in his Commentary 
on the twelfth of Matthew ; but whether the opinion 
there expressed be his own, or that of an earlier expo- 
sitor, it is impossible to determine. 

It would be preposterous to expect opinions on the 
subject to which any value could be attached from the 
writers of the middle ages, since they were accustomed 
to place human tradition upon a level with the word 
of God, and scrupled not to attribute to popes and 
councils the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It does 
not even appear to have occupied their attention as a 
distinct topic of investigation ; and such was the 
neglect into which the Scriptures had fallen, that 
when it happened to be adverted to, it was only in the 

(1) De Consensu Evangel, lib. ii. cap. 12. 


most incidental manner, and so as to show that the 
ideas entertained of it were of the most fluctuatina: 
character. Admitted as a general principle, it was 
called in question by none of the schoolmen.^ 

About the time of the Reformation, when the Scrip- 
tures began to be restored to that place to which they 
are entitled, and Biblical theology became the subject 
of profound and persevering study, the claims of reve- 
lation received a proportionate share of public atten- 
tion. One of the first who advanced any opinion at 
variance with those commonly received was Erasmus, 
who, in his notes on the second of Matthew, and the 
tenth of the Acts, remarked, that the Divine Spirit, by 
whom the minds of the apostles were governed, per- 
mitted them to remain ignorant of some things, to fall, 
and even to err for want of memory ; but though he 
endeavoured to defend his positions against Eckius, 
by whom he was attacked, he afterwards retracted and 
acknowledged — "nunc tester, me abhorrere ab ulla 
oblivione tribuenda Apostolis." - 

The sentiments of Luther on the subject of the 
canon are well known. Those which he entertained 
respecting inspiration he expressed in his usual free 
and undaunted manner; but it is evident, that, in 
reference to both points, his opinions are more to be 
traced to the influence of the peculiar circumstances of 
his times than to patient and ample investigation. 
For though he maintained, as a general theory, that 
the matters and not the words were inspired, yet in 
his controversy respecting the Lord's Supper, he wa.s 

( 1 ) Tdllner Einleitung, § viii. 

(2) Apolog. adv. Monachos quosd. Hispan. 


obliged to advocate the inspiration of the words of the 
institution. In rejecting verbal inspiration, the great 
Reformer was followed by Calixtus ^ and Musaeus. 
lioth of whom, however, were violently opposed by the 
Ijody of Lutheran divines, who, fearing lest their 
opinion might yield support to the Romanists, con- 
structed an hypothesis, according to which the sacred 
writers not only had those things immediately commu- 
nicated to them by the Holy Spirit of which they could 
acquire no knowledge by natural means, or of which- 
they were ignorant, but even those which they already 
knew or might have known from their own conscious- 
ness, or through the medium of the senses. Though 
the symbolical books of the Lutheran church are silent 
on this head, the hypothesis obtained almost equal 
authority from the prominent place which was allotted 
to it in the systems of Calovius, Hutter, Hollaz, Ger- 
hard, Quenstedt, Baier, and Buddseus, in which it was 
represented as a fundamental article of faith. Some 
of these authors went so far as to maintain the abso- 
lute inspiration or infusion of the Hebrew points;^ 
and though Calvin and others of the Reformed church 
had entertained more moderate views of the subject, 

(1) "Neque scriptura dicitur divina, quod singula, quae in ea continentur, 
divinae peculiari revelationi imputari opovteat, &c. — sed quod prsecipua, sive 
quas primario et per se respicit ac intendit scriptura, nempe quae redemp- 
tionem et salutem generis humani concernunt, non nisi divinas illi peculiari 
revelationi debeantur; in coeteris vero. quae aliunde vel per experientiani, 
sive per lumen naturas nota, consignandis, divina assistentia et Spiritu ita 
scriptores sint gubernati, ne quidquam scriberunt, quod non esset ex re, vero, 
decoro, congruo." — Respons. con. Mogunt. 

(2) " hypothesis depunctorum vocalium novainventione et ad textum 

Hebraeum adjectione, est falsa, et dudum a theologis nostris explosa et con- 
fntata. Nos eorum vestigia sequuti, coaeva esse Uteris seu consonantibus 
puncta vocalia, ipsisque statim in prima scriptione a Spiritus S Amanuen- 
sibus addita, probamus," &c. — Quenstedt Theul. Didacl.-Polem. Pars I. p. 202. 


to such lengths was the controversy carried in Hel- 
vetia, that no candidate was admitted to ordination 
who did not ex amnio profess his belief in the divine 
authority of the pointed text.^ 

In the Romish Church a diversity of opinions ob- 
tained after the Reformation ; Canus, Estius, and other 
writers maintaining an inspiration of words : but the 
entire question had a peculiar turn given to it by the 
decisions of the Council of Trent, at which it was 
determined that not only the books of the Old and 
New Testaments, including the Apocrypha, had God 
for their author, but also the traditions of the Church, 
which, it was maintained, were equally to be traced to 
the mouth of Christ, or the dictation of the Holy 

A new epoch in the history of the doctrine was formed 
by the sentence of condemnation passed by the theolo- 
gical faculties of Louvain and Douay in 1586, upon 
the three celebrated theses of the Jesuit Professors 
Less and Hamelius. These learned divines denied the 
necessity of universal verbal inspiration, and the im- 
mediate inspiration of every truth or sentence con- 
tained in Scripture ; and maintained that a book, 
written without any inspiration at all, would become 
scripture if it afterwards received the sanction of the 
Holy Spirit.^ It does not appear, however, that any 

(1) See Note D. 

(2) The theses were expressed in the following terme: — " Ut aliquid sit 
scriptura sacra, non est necessarium, singula ejus verba esse inspirata. -Non 
est necessarium ut singula; veritates et sententiae sint immediate a Spiritu 
Sancto ipso scriptori inspiratae. — Liber aliquis, qualis est fortasse ?ecundus 
Maccabaeorum, humana industria sine assistentia Spiritus Sancti scriptui, 
si Spiritus Sanctus postea testetur, ibi nihil esse falsam, efficitur scriptura 
sacra."— /a/i/i'i Introd. to the Old Test. pp. 38, 39. New York, 1827. 


notice would have been taken of these propositions 
had it not been for the controversy which was keenly 
agitated at the time between the Jesuits and Jansenists; 
for even when the subject of dispute was referred to 
the Pope, his answer was of so mild and measured 
a character, that it tended greatly to promote the free 
discussion of the question. Cornelius a Lapide, Suarez, 
Bonfrere, Bellarmine, Huet, Du Pin, Calmet, and 
especially Richard Simon, advocated the doctrine of 
the theses, and most Catliolic writers since that period 
have gone into the same views. De Dominis, indeed, 
whose opinion was afterwards extended by Holden, 
scrupled not to maintain that the Evangelists might 
have erred in circumstantials without any injury to 
the faith. ' 

The merits of the discussions which thus originated, 
are chiefly to be estimated by the influence which they 
had in creating a powerful reaction in the minds of 
many Protestants in opposition to the exaggerated 
theory which had, for some time, obtained among 
them, and but for which, there is reason to believe, no 
countenance would have been given to the loose and 
dangerous principles which were afterwards advanced. 
The unscriptural notions on the subject, which had 
been more or less broached by Grotius, Spinoza, the 
Polish Socinians, Episcopius, and others of the Remon- 
strants, were at last collected and put forth in twenty 
letters, purporting to contain " The Sentiments of 
certain Dutch Divines respecting Simon's Critical 
History," but generally supposed to have been written 

(1) Pusey's Historical Enquiry, &:c. Part II. pp. 75—77. 


by Le Clerc, who greatly aggravated the evil by deny- 
ing inspiration in almost all its essential aspects/ 

A translation of this work in " Five Letters" having 
made its appearance in this conn try, 2 the defence of the 
doctrine was taken up by La Mothe, Williams, Lowth, 
Calamy, Whitby, and Bennett, and was afterwards 
sustained by Doddridge in his able Dissertation on the 
subject, by means of which a barrier w^as thrown in 
tlie way of the influence which Le Clerc's opinions 
might otherwise have exerted on our British theology."' 
The views adopted by these writers being of a modified 
character, the ground which they took has continued 
to be occupied ever since ; and the more recent attempts 
of Priestley, Geddes, and Wakefield, to impugn the 
dogma, have been successfully met by Finlay, Dick, 
Parry, and Wilson, whose arguments still remain 
unanswered.* Nor is there the least ground for appre- 
hension from any thing that may now be advanced in 
opposition to it by those whose system of doctrine 
compels them to get rid of the strictly divine authority 
of the Scriptures : the only source whence danger 
might possibly arise would be a revival of the anti- 
quated hypothesis of universal and absolute organic 
inspiration. Some efforts have lately been made to 
effect such a revival ; but, with the exception of Dr. 
Fraser's Essay,^ which deserves the serious perusal of 
all who wish to see what may be advanced on that side 

(1) Sentimens de quelques Theolo;4ens de Holland sur I'Histoire Critique 
du Vieux Testament composee par le P. Richard Simon de TOratoire. Am- 
sterdam, 1685. 

(2) A. D. 1690. (3) See Note E. (4) See Note F. 

(5) An Essay on the Plenary and Verbal Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures. 
By Donald Frazer, D.D. New Fam. Lib. vol. ii. Edin. 1834. 


of the question, they are not likely to produce much 

With respect to the continent, the doctrines of 
Luther already began towards the close of the seven- 
teenth century to be remoulded in the forms of philo- 
sophy ; and in proportion as one philosophical system 
overturned or succeeded another, they continued to be 
more or less affected by the different impulses, which, 
in consequence, were given to scientific minds. The 
influence of infidelity was also sensibly felt. The 
deep and serious tone in which revealed truth was 
formerly taught came to be exchanged for superficial, 
flippant, and licentious modes of interpretation. One 
doctrine was frittered down after another ; the super- 
natural phenomena of Revelation were brought to the 
test of modern reason, and then discarded, till at last 
little was allowed to remain in the Bible but a vene- 
rable collection of mythological fragments, which 
might have been of some practical use in the remote 
and dark ages of antiquity, but cannot be admitted to 
possess any binding authority upon those who live in 
our day. 

In the midst of this wreck, occasioned by the preci- 
pitation of some of the most valuable monuments of 
Christian truth, lies the doctrine of inspiration. It 
was not only the subject of scurrilous attack and 
absolute rejection on the part of such men q,s Bahrdt, 
Edelmann, Basedow, and Daum, but has suffered more 
serious injury from the treatment to which it has been 
subjected by Semler, Michaelis, Morus, Henke, Ecker- 
mann, Ammon, Griesbach, Bretschneider, Paulus, 
Wegscheider, ' and De Wette, by whom, under the 


professed discussion of it as a biblical dogma, its plenary 
character lias gradually been abandoned, and the posi- 
tion has been laid down as an ultimate conclusion, that 
the authority of the canonical books does not in any 
degree depend upon their inspiration, but would be 
equally valid and unshaken, though not a syllable con- 
tained in them had originated in any such source. 

"Wie cannot conclude this brief historical view of the 
doctrine, without congratulating the friends of biblical 
truth on the efficient manner in which its defence has 
been undertaken by Professors Tholuck, Twesten, 
Hahn, and other theological writers of the new school 
in Germany; and expressing a decided conviction, 
founded on the spirit in which it is carried on, and 
the degree of progress which it has already made, that 
the period is not distant when the Divine authority of 
the inspired volume will be fully acknowledged, and 
its blessed influence extensively felt in that interesting 
portion of Europe. Then shall he who has most 
boasted of the lights of reason and human philosophy, 
convinced of the utter emptiness of the principles 
which he and others have advanced, humbly and in- 
genuously confess with Agur, " Surely I am more 
" brutish than any man, and have not the understand- 
" ing of a man. I neither learned wisdom, nor did 
" I acquire the knowledge of the Holy." 



HEB. I. 1, 2. 

" God^ who at sundry times and in divers manners spake 
in time past unto the fathers hy the prophets, hath in 
these last days spoken unto us hy his Son, whom, he 
hath appointed heir of all things, hy whom also he 
made the worlds."" 

The result of our inquiry into the force and bearing 
of the peculiar phraseology of Scripture in reference 
to the subject of inspiration, is this : — that, in a general 
point of view, it embraces the entire range of influence 
supernaturally exerted in order to communicate to 
mankind the knowledge of truths, which they could 
not otherwise have acquired, together with a recog- 
nition of the diversified phenomena connected with the 
exertion of such influence, in so far as these pheno- 
mena form a legitimate object of investigation by the 
human mind. It now devolves upon us to examine 
the particular modes in which this extraordinary in- 
fluence was vouchsafed, so far as they are specified in 
the Scriptures, in order that we may obtain more dis- 
tinct and particular conceptions of its operations and 


effects, and thus be led to admire " the manifold wisdom 
of God" conspicuously displayed in this, as in evcrv 
other department of the Divine workmanship. 

That the modes in which it pleased God to reveal 
liis will, were various, is expressly declared in tlie 
words of the text. We are aware, indeed, that some 
very respectable modern commentators, such as Kuinoel 
and Dindorf, regard both the words here employed 
(TroXyfjiepiZc and rroXvTponwQ) as synonymous and ex- 
pressive of the same thing, namely, the matter or 
doctrines contained in the ancient revelations ; but it 
appears forced to refer either of them to the intrinsic 
nature of those divine disclosures itself, since what the 
apostle treats of is the diversified parts and modes in 
which they were made, which he contrasts with the 
manner in which God has revealed himself unto the 
new economy. With respect to the former, they were 
not only effected in various parts or portions, according 
to the various exigencies of the church, a considerable 
period of time frequently intervening between them, 
but they were also furnished by means or in ways 
greatly differing from each other. 

Indeed, the term TroXvrpo-ior, which is commonly 
rendered " in divers or various manners'^ in the ver- 
sions, is expressive of multiplicity as well as of diver- 
sity, and has accordingly been rendered by some, in 
many different ways. And what is thus so explicitly 
declared by the apostle must have been familiar to his 
readers, as it must still be to all who are in any degree 
conversant with the Scriptures of the Old Testament, 
almost every page of which affords proofs and illus- 
trations of the fact. It would, however, be a palpable 


misconstruction of the text, and diametrically opposed 
to another fact, which appears no less obvious from 
the pages of the New Testament, to suppose, that it 
implies the absolute non-existence of diversity in the 
manner in which God has made known his will to the 
church under the Christian dispensation. So far as 
concerns the several prophets on the one hand, and 
the one great Prophet, the Son of God, on the other, 
the antithesis is complete ; and the exhibition of this 
antithesis seems to have been the grand, if not the sole 
aim of the writer. The circumstance of diversity re- 
lative to the ancient revelations is introduced, as it 
were, en passant, according to his constant and well- 
known manner of indulging in parenthetical additions, 
or touching upon minor topics, which caught liis eye, 
but which have no immediate reference to the main 
point of his argument. Not only were the develop- 
ments of the Divine will in the latter days not confined 
to the personal ministry of Christ, but were also made 
through the instrumentality of his apostles ; but they 
were made in manners or modes nearly as " divers" as 
those in which that will had been revealed in ancient 
times. Of this abundant evidence will be adduced as 
we proceed. 

From a collation of the statements furnished upon 
this subject in both divisions of the sacred volume, it 
will be found that the modes of Divine revelation, or 
the exertion of inspiring influence, which it pleased 
the Author of all wisdom to select, are the following : — 
direct internal suggestion ; audible articulate sounds ; 
the Urim and Thummim ; dreams ; visions ; and the 
re-appearance of the departed. 


Of these several modes, the first only is immediate, 
and is that which is generally considered to be inspi- 
ration in the strictest sense : the others are all mediate, 
consisting in the miraculous intervention of secondary 
causes, or certain applications of divinely interposed 
instrumentality, by which the matters of revelation 
were conveyed to the minds of its chosen recipients. 

That the servants of God were occasionally, and 
some of them generally, the subjects of direct inspira- 
tion, is irrefragably proved by express testimonies of 
Scripture. In the proem to the sublime ode of David, 
with which his inspired poetical compositions terminate, 
he declares in reference to his general inspiration, 

" The Spirit of the Lord speaketh in me : 
And his word is upon my tongue." 2 Sam. xxiii. 2. 

The parallelism here employed is not to be viewed 
as consisting of two simply synonymous members, in 
which the same sentiment is taught without any differ- 
ence of mode or degree ; but is obviously of the class 
termed gradational, in which the idea introduced in the 
former member is continued, but amplitied or dimi- 
nished in the latter. The Psalmist first announces 
the source of his composition — the indwelling, extra- 
ordinary influence of the Spirit of Jehovah, by which 
he was supplied with inspired matter, without the in- 
tervention of mediate causes ; and then he proceeds to 
describe the effect of such influence in the expression 
given to it in sacred song. The verse contains a state- 
ment in reference to his character as an organ of 
divine communications generally ; having made which, 
he proceeds in the next to call our attention to a 
special communication, that had been made to him, in 


the way of intermediate agency, or by an audible voice, 
such as that by which, as we read in his history, he 
was often addressed by the Most High. 

Other passages, in which the doctrine of immediate 
inspiration is distinctly taught, are the following : — 
Matt. X. 20. - " For it is not ye that speak, but the 
Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you." 1 Pet. 
i. 11. — " Searching what, or what manner of time the 
Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when 
he testified beforehand of the sufferings of Christ." In 
none of these instances is the instrumental sense ad- 
missible. They all assert the fact of direct internal 
revelation — the result of the extraordinary operation 
of God upon the minds of the prophets and apostles, 
by which they became imbued with supernatural know- 
ledge, or had those objects and occurrences vividly and 
powerfully impressed on them, an acquaintance with 
which they never could have acquired in any natural 
way, or which, without such divine intervention and 
influence, they could not have been qualified to make 
known to the world. They all convey the idea, which 
is naturally suggested by the perusal of innumerable 
other passages of Scripture, in which no mention is 
made of the employment of any external means in im- 
parting the revelation, that the recipients were wrought 
upon directly and immediately by the Holy Spirit, who 
opened their minds to perceive the things which they 
were to communicate to others ; excited them specially 
to attend to them; and supplied them, as the exi- 
gencies of particular cases required, with the ability 
to give suitable expression to the matters with which 
they were inspired. 


The possibility of such immediate revelation will 
not be called in question bj any who believe in the 
Divine Omnipotence. The Infinite Spirit, by whom 
the human mind was created, and by whose unceasing 
agency it is preserved in existence, must ever be inti- 
mately present to it ; and possessing a perfect know- 
ledge of its faculties, states, and affections, and exer- 
cising a perfect control over all its operations; — 
governing it, moreover, in such ways as infallibly to 
secure the great ends of his moral government, it would 
be absurd to suppose that he has not the power of 
operating upon it in the way of directly communicating 
to it a knoAvledge of his will, or of producing in it 
certain ideas or conceptions independently of the use 
of external or secondary means. The denial of these 
immediate operations of the Deity upon the human 
mind can only consistently be maintained on the prin- 
ciples of materialism and physical necessity. If, in- 
deed, the universe were nothing but a vast machine, 
governed by the laws of mechanical organization, ope- 
rating invariably and uninterruptedly according to the 
fixed relations of things, and in consequence of an 
original impetus or impulse communicated to it at its 
creation, to the exclusion of all foreign influence in 
future ; in other words, if, through the whole period 
of its existence, its affairs were conducted solely by 
the influence of its own concreated powers ; then it 
would be highly irrational to imagine that any inter- 
ference of the kind in question ever took place. But 
such an hypothesis, if it does not ultimately and abso- 
lutely supersede the necessity of creation itself, at least 
excludes the Creator from all further connexion with 


the results of his own workmanship, and implicates the 
soul of man, with all its operations, in the concatenation 
of merely physical causes and effects. Upon this prin- 
ciple there is no occasion for the Divine existence ; 
and man being abandoned to the influence of a dire 
and inevitable necessity, all rational freedom of will is 
necessarily excluded, and moral responsibility itself 
totally annihilated. From such a system, what well- 
poised mind does not recoil with instinctive horror ! 
And with what satisfaction does it rest in the belief of 
a perpetual and universally concurrent Providence — 
the omnipotent influence of Him, who, while he hath 
endowed his intelligent creatures with the powers of 
free agency, never for a moment renounces his control 
over them, but sustains these powers, and so disposes 
of all their operations, as shall effectually promote the 
highest possible good of the universe I Such is unde- 
niably the God of the Bible, the doctrine of which 
upon this point may be summed up in its own brief 
but emphatic language : " In him we live, and move, 
and have our being." (Acts xvii. 28.) 

But if God is thus ever present with his creatures, 
and incessantly upholds, guides, and controls their 
actions, what possible incongruity can there be in 
admitting the exercise of his benevolent agency in 
immediately presenting to their minds, and effectually 
inclining them to regard, and afterwards to commu- 
nicate to others, truths of high concernment in refer- 
ence to their present circumstances, or their future and 
immortal destiny? With what consistency can we 
assert our belief in his universal and uncontrollable 
agency in the physical world, and deny the exercise of 


the same unlimited agency in the world of mind ? 
Shall he cause his voice to be heard in the sweeping 
of the hurricane and the rolling of the thunder, and 
shall he not possess the power of holding purely intel- 
lectual converse as a Spirit with spirits — or rather, as 
the Father of spirits, with the spirits which he hath 
made ? Shall he make his sun to rise on the evil and 
the good, shedding the beams of natural light over tlie 
world, and shall we not concede to him the ability to 
irradiate the minds of his intellectual creation with 
beams of celestial truth, directly emanating from him- 
self, the uncreated and effulgent source of spiritual 
light ? 

While no difficulty, however, may be felt in regard 
to the possibility of immediate supernatural commu- 
nications on the part of the Almighty, there may still 
remain in the minds of some a hesitancy with respect 
to the possibility of such communications becoming 
matters of distinct consciousness on the part of those 
to whom they were made. How, it may be asked, 
could they assure themselves that they actually Avere 
supernaturally and divinely imparted? How could 
they distinguish what they considered to be such com- 
munications from the productions ot" their own minds^ 
or from the results of an influence exerted upon them 
by Satanic or demoniacal agency ? How, in short, 
was it in their power to ascertain that what they 
regarded in the light of divine revelation truly came 
from God ? The importance of these questions will at 
once appear when it is considered, that, in all ages, 
there have been those who have themselves been per- 
suaded, and who have endeavoured to persuade others, 


that they were the subjects of immediate inspiration, 
while nothing can be more satisfactorily made out than 
the fact of their self-deception, and the utter nullity 
of their pretended supernatural intercourse with the 

That the prophets and apostles could and did dis- 
criminate between those matters which resulted purely 
from their own ratiocination, or from the mere exercise 
of any of their mental faculties, and the direct celestial 
inspirations with which they were favoured, appears 
incontrovertible from numerous passages of their 
writings. The modus, however, of that consciousness 
which they possessed of immediate inspiration is a 
psychological question, which is fraught with no small 
difficulty ; and it may be anticipated, that all who have 
given the subject any reasonable degree of attention 
will concur in considering it to be one of which the 
absolute determination lies entirely beyond the power 
of those wlio have never had any personal experience 
of such consciousness. Locke, in his chapter on En- 
tlmsiasm,' has some remarks bearing upon the ques- 
tion ; but though they possess great force in application 
to false impressions and mental illusions, they fail in 
fixing any distinct marks or criteria by which those 
who received divine communications could ordinarily 
distinguish them from their own conceptions, or from 
suggestions conveyed to their minds from some other 
source. He not only holds, indeed, the possibility of 
determining in each particular case the fact of inspira- 
tion, but that there existed certain marks which bore 
the infallible stamp of divine authority — something, 

(i; Book i. chap. 19. 


as he expresses himself, extrinsical to the persuasion 
itself, which the inspired person possessed, and whicii 
proved to him that he was not the subject of halluci- 
nation. But wherein does he place these yvwpKxnara, 
or undoubted marks of divine inspiration ? Not, cer- 
tainly, in any thing that removes the pressure of the 
difficulty as principally existing in reference to those 
disclosures of which we here treat — such, namely, as 
were made in a direct manner, and altogether apart 
from the concurrence of the causes brought into action 
in other modes of revelation, which from their nature, 
or from the circumstances which attended them, neces- 
sarily produced more powerful impressions upon the 
mind. He appeals to the miraculous signs given to 
Moses, Gideon, and others, and considers these as con- 
stituting sufficient evidence that their persuasion of a 
divine commission was not illusory. And undoubtedly 
these signs, whenever furnished, were most satisfac- 
tory. But who does not perceive that this hypothesis 
by no means meets the entire exigency of the case : 
unless we admit, either that such tokens accompanied 
every new instance of direct revelation, or that, once 
given, they affi^rded such perfect assurance to the 
messenger, that whatever light was afterwards intro- 
duced into his mind, he was indubitably to regard as 
the result of a supernatural communication ? The 
former position will not be maintained, as it would go 
to multiply miraculous agency far beyond any notices 
of it furnished in the Scriptures, or which they give 
us any reason to believe was ever exerted. With 
respect to the latter, it cannot be denied that there is 
one point of view in which it may be considered as 


bearing upon the question. Moses, the prophets, and 
apostles, were all the subjects of an extraordinary 
commission, which was to continue through life, and 
in the execution of which they were to be employed 
as instruments in revealing the will of God to man- 
kind. The miracles which attended their entrance 
upon this ministry afforded them incontestable evi- 
dence of a divine call, and their conscious recollection 
of these miracles, taken in connexion with numerous 
others, which they afterwards performed, must have 
powerfully corroborated their impressions in regard to 
the truths, which, as inspired men, they continually 
taught. But still, since their future life was not a 
state of pure, uninterrupted inspiration, but furnished 
scope for the intermediate exercise of their own 
tlioughts and feelings in reference to manifold subjects 
in no way connected with their office, it follows that 
occasions must frequently have recurred on which 
their minds would experience a transition from the 
one state to the other, and consequently require fresh 
evidence of the recommencement of direct supernatural 

Without in any degree opening the door to the 
delusions of enthusiasm, or presuming, in the absence 
of positive data, to determine the question, may we 
not suppose that there was a vividness and distinctness 
attaching to the ideas directly communicated to in- 
spired men, which greatly exceeded any thing of the 
kind experienced by them in the ordinary exercise of 
their rational powers, or even as the result of the 
saving operations of the Holy Spirit upon their minds ; 
and that they possessed an assured consciousness, that 



llie knowledge which they thus acquired was not the 
result of any degree of activity on their part, but came 
to them quite unexpectedly, and was, as it were, forced 
upon their attention ? add to which, an intuitive per- 
ception of the intrinsic excellence and moral congruity 
of the new matters of consciousness, which rendered it 
perfectly impossible for them to suppose, for a moment, 
that, they could have proceeded from any other than a 
Divine source. 

If we admit the fact of the original legitimation of 
the prophets and apostles by the intervention of mira- 
culous agency, visibly and uncontrollably displayed, 
and the equally obvious fact of the subsequent impar- 
tation of supernatural light through the medium of 
sensible or physical causes, specially and miraculously 
called into operation for the purpose, by means of 
which a perfect assurance must have rested upon the 
minds of those holy men that they were actually 
employed by the Deity, as the instruments of commu- 
nicating to mankind the knowledge of truths otherwise 
undiscoverable by them, — it seems no more than 
reasonable to demand for the internal concurring 
criteria, which have just been specified, a degree of 
certitude, which cannot be claimed by any uninspired 
persons, however powerful the impressions of which 
they are the subjects, or how much soever they may 
consider the matters which they imagine are commu- 
nicated to them to be excellent and divine. The con- 
sciousness for which we contend, is not that of private 
individuals, or of such as have no external evidence to 
which to appeal in proof of their inspiration ; but that 
of men who were otherwise warranted, on the most 


rational and indubitable grounds, to conclude that they 
were the ambassadors of heaven. For such men to 
repose confidence in the inspirations of which they 
were sensible, was no enthusiasm : it was in perfect 
harmony with every principle which entered into the 
liigh character with which they were invested. 

Of the different modes of revelation which were 
mediate, consisting in the intervention of certain 
agencies or external physical phenomena, that which 
we consider to possess the first claim on our attention 
is the production of audible and articulate sounds, 
by which Jehovah made oracular announcements of 
his will to men. To this species of inspiration are 
to be referred all those passages of Scripture which 
plainly and unequivocally ascribe to the Deity the use 
of speech in connexion with personal manifestations, 
and also those which contain similar ascriptions, with- 
out any account of such manifestations, but which are 
not susceptible, on any other principle, of a rational 

It will be conceded by all who are familiar with the 
Hebrew language, that the verbs ips>, to sai/, and la-r, 
to speak, are used by the sacred writers with great 
latitude of acceptation : — sometimes importing nothing 
more than the mere thoughts, purposes, designs, or 
resolutions of those of whom they are predicated ; 
sometimes the exertion of will requisite to carry such 
purposes or resolutions into effect ; and sometimes 
expressing, in a general sense, a divine communication, 
without specifying the particular way in which it was 
raade. They are in fact employed, more or less, in 


reference to all the diversified modes of revelation, to 
indicate the reality of the intelligent communications 
thus graciously vouchsafed. But, on the other hand, 
it is equally undeniable that there are numerous pas- 
sages in which these terms are used with respect to 
God, the connexion and other circumstances of which 
compel us to understand them in the strictly physical 
sense, of his communicating, by articulate vocal sounds, 
the knowledge of his will to man. In such instances, 
the terms are not to be regarded as merely anthropo- 
morphic — representing the Deity, in accommodation 
to the weakness of our intellect, as possessed of human 
organs, and merely intimating what he would have 
done had he been possessed of such organs; but they 
are to be taken in their plain and literal signification, 
as denoting the actual production of articulate words. 

How these sounds were produced it is not for us to 
determine ; but of this we may be certain, that there 
was nothing in the matter •' too hard " for God. For 
" who hath made man's mouth ? or who maketh the 
" dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind ? Have 
" not I the Lord?" " He that planted the ear, shall 
" he not hear ? he that formed the eye, shall he not 
" see?" Exod. iv. 11 ; Ps. xciv. 9. And may we not 
further ask, in amplification, and with a direct bearing 
upon the point before us: He that planted the ear, 
shall he not possess the power of so disposing of the 
sonorous susceptibility of the surrounding medium as 
to make it the instrument of communicating to that 
organ those articulate sounds which he may will it to 
receive ? Shall the creature be able, at pleasure, to 
cause those vibrations, which, being brought into con- 


tact with the sense of hearing, produce in the mind 
ideas or impressions corresponding to those existing in 
the mind of the agent by whom the impulse is given ; 
and shall the same power be denied to the Creator, 
by whose infinite skill the whole framework of nature 
was constructed, and at whose absolute disposal it must 
ever, in all its parts, be considered to lie ? For the 
production of such sounds, he cannot require the 
organs of speech. As it was consistent with the pure 
spirituality of his being originally to give existence to 
matter, and then to mould it into the wondrously 
diversified forms which it assumed ; and as he conti- 
nuously operates upon it by the conserving influence of 
his providence, directly and universally exerted ; there 
cannot be the least incongruity in his having occa- 
sionally done that himself immediately, for the attain- 
ment of certain great and important ends, which is 
ordinarily effected through the instrumentality of 
organs adapted and appointed for this purpose. 

On consulting the record we find, that the oracular 
communications in question were sometimes made 
without any accompany in g pei'sonal phenomena. Thus 
we are informed, (Num. vii. 89 ; viii. 1,) that when 
Moses entered the tabernacle of the congregation to 
speak with the Lord, he heard the voice speaking to 
him from above the propitiatory which was over the 
ark of testimony, from between the two cherubim : 
it spake to him, — yea, Jehovah spake to Moses, saying, 
&c. The Lord on this occasion fulfilled the promise 
which he had made, when he gave special instructions 
respecting the formation of the adytum, or holy of 
holies : " There I will meet with thee, and I will com- 


mune with thee from above the propitiatorv." (Exod. 
XXV. 22.) And it was owing to the oracular responses 
which were given from this sacred place, that, on the 
construction of the temple, it obtained the name of 
Til, "The Oracle." (1 Kings vi. 16; viii. 6 ; 2 Chron. 
iv. 20.) From the particular way in which it is men- 
tioned by this name in these passages, there appears 
to be no ground for the opinion of Hales ^ and others, 
that this mode of revelation absolutely ceased after the 
erection of Solomon's temple. The very fact of its 
being then first mentioned under the name of ^n-i, 
oracle, implies, that supernatiiral responses still conti- 
nued, to be given ; though in consequence of the insti- 
tution of the prophetical order, which had recently 
taken place, they were, in all probability, only employed 
on extraordinary emergencies, such as the death or 
absence of any of these accredited messengers of God — 
on which occasions it was found necessary to consult 
his will in this particular way. It must be observed, 
however, that it was only to Moses, and, after his 
death, to the High Priest for the time being, that the 
peculiar honour was conceded of receiving these 
oracular communications. And even with respect to 
the latter, it is uncertain whether they were ever 
imparted to him on his being permitted, on the great 
day of atonement, to enter the holy of holies. When 
he did receive them it was outside the vail, which 
separated the outer or first division of the temple from 
the most sacred place ; so that there was not that 
immediate intercourse in the way of communication 
between the Deity and him which Moses enjoyed, and 

(1) Analysis o! Sacred Chronology, vol. ii. p. 2i0, 2d Edit. 


which is emphatically expressed by ne ";« hb, " mouth 
to mouth." (Num. xii. 8.) This distinguished privi- 
lege was peculiar to the Jewish legislator. 

In the history of Nebuchadnezzar we meet with 
another instance illustrative of this mode of revelation. 
It is stated by the sacred penman, that, Avhile the 
proud boast of that monarch was yet in his mouth, 
" there fell a voice from he. wen, saying, O king Ne- 
buchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken ; The kingdom is 
departed from thee," &c. (Dan iv. 31.) It was not a 
simple impression wrought upon his mind, but an 
audible voice, miraculously produced, the component 
intelligible words of which he distinctly heard and 

In the New Testament we meet with similar exam- 
ples. At the baptism of our Lord there was a voice 
from heaven, saying, " This is my beloved Son, in 
whom I am well pleased." According to Rosenmiiller, 
Kuinoel, and some other foreign interpreters,, indeed, 
all that is meant by the voice here specified is a clap 
of thunder, which they suppose to have then taken 
place ; and which, being so well timed, intimated that 
Jesus was the Messiah ! But, not to insist on the 
absurdity of construing thunder into an announcement 
of tlie gracious pleasure of Jehovah — that phenomenon 
being uniformly considered as calculated to convey to 
the human bosom the impression of terror, rather than 
inspire it with an assurance of the Divine good will — 
such an interpretation is altogether at variance with 
the nsus locpMndi of the New Testament, and indeed 
of the Scriptures generally, in which the formula here 
used is never employed, except in reference to an 


actual verbal declaration. Schleusner, under the word 
(p(oyj], quotes a number of passages in support of this 
hypothesis ; but, as is frequently the case with that 
lexicographer, there is not one of them to the point. 
With respect to Gen. iii. 8, to which he refers, there 
can be no doubt that by " the voice of the Lord God 
walking in the midst of the garden," we are to under- 
stand the reverberation of thunder, which was then 
heard for the first time, and formed an awful prelude 
to the judicial summons which the guilty pair were 
about to receive. We the rather select this alleged 
proof, because the passage is generally appealed to as 
furnishing an instance of the very kind of revelation we 
are now considering ; while by some it is interpreted 
of a personal appearance of the Logos — whereas it must 
be obvious to all who compare it with other passages 
(^f the Old Testament in which the phrase, " the voice 
of God," or " of the Lord," occurs, without any speci- 
fication of words uttered, it is uniformly employed to 
denote the noise or sound of thunder. See 2 Sam. 
xxii. 14 ; Job xxxvii. 4, 5 ; Ps. xx^i:K.freq. xlvi. 6. 

I may just add, as a concluding remark on the 
neological construction put upon the words of the 
evangelist, that it is rejected as untenable by Fritsche, 
one of the most recent commentators on the passage, 
though his views generally are of a highly pseudo- 
rational character. 

The same announcement which was made at our 
Lord's baptism was repeated in precisely the same 
audible manner on the mount of Transfiguration : 
" While he yet spake, behold a bright cloud over- 
" shadowed them ; and behold a voice out of the cloud, 


" which said, This is mj beloved Son, in whom I am 
" well pleased; hear ye him." (Matt. xvii. 5.) The 
terms in which the phenomenon is here described are 
not, indeed, identical with those employed on the 
former occasion ; but the diiFerence is not such as to 
warrant the insinuation of Paulus,' that the voice w^as 
not strictly and properly divine. Though the cloud 
which overshadowed our Lord and his disciples may 
only have rested on the mountain, and may not have 
been of that description of clouds which appear high 
above the horizon, yet as it must be supposed to have 
covered the face of the heavens, it is obvious the voice 
which made the communication is to be understood as 
coming from heaven, just as if no cloud whatever had 
intervened. But we are not left to the uncertainty of 
conjecture. All w^ho admit the divine authority of 
the first chapter of the Second Epistle of Peter, will, 
at once, bow to the decision there furnished by an 
inspired witness, who expressly informs us that the 
VOICE came "from heaven — from the excellent glory, "" — 
language than w^hich none could have been adopted 
more definitely or strikingly to characterise the divine 
source of the oracle. 

At a still more advanced period of our Lord's public 
ministry, this supernatural mode of announcing the 
Supreme will was again employed. In the anguish of 
his soul, arising from the pressure of that imputed 
guilt which he had undertaken to expiate, and publicly 
avowing his sense of such anguish, the illustrious 
sufferer was at a loss how to give vent to his feelings ; 

(1) Ex'^getisches Handbuch iibcr die drei ersten Evangelien. U'erXheil. 
p. 456. 


but, just as he was on the point of supplicating deli- 
verance, he checked himself, noblv resolving to submit 
to the utmost inflictions, in order that the object of his 
mission might be accomplished. " Now is my soul 
" troubled : and what shall I say ? Father ! save me 
" from this hour ? It was for this very purpose I came 
"to this hour. Father! glorify thy name!"^ No 
sooner was the pathetic appeal followed by the equally 
disinterested petition, than " there came a voice from 
" heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will 
" glorify it again." That, in this case, as in the pre- 
ceding instances, plain intelligible words were uttered, 
the express specification of the terms clearly shows. 
At the same time, it is no less evident from the narra- 
tive, that though the voice was heard by the surround- 
ing multitude, their perception of it generally was not 
distinct: some, like our modern commentators, being 
of opinion that it thundered, while others said, " an 
angel spake to him." The circumstance, however, 
that a portion of the auditors, who appear to have 
heard it more distinctly, though not sufliciently so to 
recognise the Divine Person from whom it proceeded, 
maintained that it was a real articulate communication 
made through the intervention of an angel, corrobo- 
rates the position, which is otherwise clearly borne out 
by the very face of the narrative, that the sound was 

(1) " If the common punctuation and interpretation be here adopted, we 
must suppose that, through perturbation, our Lord first utters and then 
retracts a prayer. That, however, is both objectionable and unnecessary : for 
many of the best ancient and modern commentators and editors place a mark 
of interrogation after raurm, thus making two interrogations as follows : 
What shall I say? [shall I say] Father, deliver me from this hour? But for 
this cause came I, for this hour, i. e. to meet this hour." Bloonifielu's Greek 
N. T 2d. Edit. 


not natural thunder, but that of words audibly pro- 
duced by an immediate exertion of the power of God. 
We are, indeed, conducted to the same conclusion by 
our Lord's declaration — " This voice came not because 
of me, but for your sakes :" a declaration which unde- 
niably implies that the phenomenon was not the result 
of the ordinary operation of physical causes, but a 
supernatural testimony expressly furnished in order to 
lead the hearers attentively to contemplate the wondrous 
personage who stood in the midst of them, and impar- 
tially to weigh the claims of his divine mission. 

Another class of instances in which this mode of 
revelation was employed, comprehends those in which 
an actual perso?ial appearance accompanied the enun- 
ciation of the vv^ords that were spoken. In such in- 
stances, those by whom the communications were made 
presented themselves to the view of the persons to 
whom they were imparted, in a visible and palpable 
manner. The form in which they thus appeared was 
human ; and there is reason to believe that, in most 
cases, when first exhibited, it was marked by nothing 
of an extraordinary character, but possessed in appear- 
ance the simple properties of the human body, so that 
those to whose view it was presented could have re- 
garded it in no other light than that of actual humanity. 
It was only by the accompanying circumstances, or by 
those developments of a higher or supernatural order 
with which they were favoured, they arrived at the 
assurance, that the being by whom it had been assumed 
was not in reality a member of the human family, but 
belonged to a superior order of existences. This view 


of the subject is fully borne out by the declaration of 
Paul, Heb. xiii. 2, that " some have entertained angeh 
UNAWARES," — in which, in all probability, he refers to 
the cases of Abraham and Lot, recorded in the eigh- 
teenth and nineteenth chapters of Genesis, which Avill 
presently come under our consideration. 

It must have struck all who have attentively perused 
the sacred volume, that, in the accounts which it fur- 
nishes of supernatural personal appearances, there is a 
marked distinction betwixt those of angels generally, 
or angels strictly and properly so called, and those of 
One who, by way of peerless pre-eminence, is styled 
rnrp ^^>bp, THE Angel OP Jehovah, and to whom 
names, attributes, and works exclusively divine are 
unequivocally ascribed. In proof, it is merely neces- 
sary to refer to the histories of Abraham, Hagar, 
Jacob, Moses, and Manoah. 

Different hypotheses have been framed with a view 
to explain this extraordinary historical fact. By some 
it has been maintained, that nothing more is meant by 
the expression, than merely a natural phenomenon, or 
some visible symbol, which was accorded, in order to 
satisfy men of the presence and approbation of Je- 
hovah.^ Others'^ have advanced the opinion, that 
wherever the Angel of the Lord is spoken of, a created 
angel is meant, through whose agency the transactions 
described were effected ; while a third class,^ sensible 
of the difficulty presented by the fact, that to this 

(1) Herder, Hebr. Poesie, II. 47. 

(2) Augustine, Jerome, Gregoiy the Great, Abenezra, Grotius, Le Clerc, 
Episcopius, Dr. S. Clarke, Gesenius, and Baumgarten Crusius. 

(3) Priestley, Belsham, Sack, Pustkuchen, De Wette, Ewald, Koster. See 
Hengstenberg's Christologie, vol. i. p. 2i.'6. 


angel an ascription of properties is made which clearly 
imply Divinity, endeavour to substantiate the hypo- 
thesis, that all such instances are to be regarded as 
real theophanies, or visible manifestations of Deity, 
irrespective of personal distinction- To each of these 
theories insuperable objections have been produced, 
more or less drawn from the historical circumstances 
of the different texts in which the phenomenon in 
question occurs. The only view of the subject which 
recommends itself as least clogged with difficulty, is 
that according to which the Angel of Jehovah was the 
Logos, or Divine Person of the Messiah, with respect 
to whose previous manifestations to mankind, as dis- 
tinguished from his actually incarnate manifestation 
in the fulness of time, the prophet Micah asserts, that 
" his goings forth were of old, from everlasting."^ 

That the Son of God, in his capacity of Mediator, 
was invested with a peculiar agency under the Old 
Testament, and that, in the execution of this agency, 
he frequently appeared and conversed with men, is an 
opinion which was not only held by most of the 
Fathers, but has obtained the suffrages of the most 
enlightened Biblical expositors of modern times. Their 
arguments in support of it are principally drawn from 
the statements of the ancient Jewish Scriptures re- 
specting the character and functions of the Angel of 
Jehovah, whom these Scriptures also plainly teach to 
be Jehovah ; especially the celebrated prophecy in 
Malachi, which serves most satisfactorily to unlock all 
the other passages in which the doctrine is taught, in- 
asmuch as it unquestionably identifies nn?rr Tj^^^p, " the 

(1) See Note G. 


Angel of the Covenant," with pis^n, the Soveretgx 
Lord, or the Messiah whom the Jews expected, as 
one in person and operations. These arguments are 
corroborated by certain parallel statements, made in 
the writings of the New Testament, which expressly 
assert the agency of Christ under the former dispen- 
sation. Thus Paul informs us, that the Rock, or 
powerful God, who was present with the Israelites, 
and supplied all their wants in the wilderness, was 
Christ, and that he was the Divine Person whom they 
tempted at Meribah. (1 Cor. x. 4, 9.) And in his 
Epistle to the Hebrews, the same apostle declares, that 
it was His voice which shook the earth on occasion of 
the transactions at Sinai. (Heb. xii. 26.) Add to 
which, the very pointed and decisive language of our 
Lord, when speaking to the Jews, respecting the 
Father — " Ye have neither heard his voice at any 
time, nor seen his shape," by which he appears clearly 
to teach, not merely that no such privilege had ever 
been enjoyed by any of the Jews whom he was ad- 
dressing, or by any of their brethren then living, but 
that such personal manifestation and communication 
on the part of the Father had never, at any former 
period, been vouchsafed to their nation. And what 
he thus denies in regard to the Jews is elsewhere 
denied in terms equally strong of the whole human 
family : " No man hath seen God at any time." He 
is absolutely the Invisible, whom " no man hath 
seen, or can see." (John v. 37 ; i. 18 ; 1 Tim. vi. 16.) 
Of this truth, the ancient Israelites possessed so power- 
ful a conviction, — a conviction produced by the extra- 
ordinary splendours of the Shechinah, and strengthened 



by an express declaration of Jehovah himself to that 
effect, (Exod. xxxiii. 20,) — that any thing approxi- 
mating to a vision of the Divine Being, or that could 
at all be construed into such a vision, was totally in- 
compatible with the continuance of moral existence. 
Judges xiii. 22. 

It follows, that whenever mention is made of the 
personal appearance of Jehovah, or of the Angel ot 
Jehovah, " in whom was his name," — in other words, 
who possessed the sum-total of his attributes,— we are 
to understand not any manifestation of the Divine 
essence, but the hypostatic development of the Logos 
by the temporary assumption of a sensible human 
form, anticipative of his future real incarnation. In 
his character of Mediator he acted from the beginning. 
By him was the universe created, and on him were 
devolved its continual conservation and government. 
(CoL i. 16, 17 ; Heb. i. 2, 3.) Whatever was done on 
the part of the Deity in time was done through him. 
Such is plainly the doctrine of the sacred writers of 
the New Testament ; and whatever may seem to mili- 
tate against it is to be accounted for on the principle 
of the essential union subsisting between the Logos and 
the two other persons of the Godhead, in consequence 
of which certain acts may be ascribed to the Deity 
absolutely considered, which nevertheless were per- 
formed by one of the Divine subsistents in particular. 

Though we would not derive any positive proofs of 
the opinion just propounded respecting the Logos as 
the anciently manifested God from uninspired Jewish 
sources, yet, considering how the Talmudic, Cabba- 
listic, and even earlier writers^ found themselves puzzled 


in their attempts to grapple with the difficulties of the 
case, the circumstance cannot but be regarded as in 
some degree corroborative of the prooi^s deduced from 
Scripture, when it is found that occasionally, in their 
discussions of the subject, they are forced to give 
expression to sentiments which coincide with the 
Christian views of the Messiah, but which are totally 
at variance with the common Jewish notion of his 
being a mere man. It is exceedingly probable that 
the ancient Greek translator of Isaiah, in rendering 
the words, (ch. ix. 5,) *?« 'pv «bs, ^Eya'Xjyc (^ovXijg 
dyyeXoQ, " the angel," or messenger, " of the great 
counsel," was influenced by some ideas which floated 
in his mind respecting the Person who had appeared 
to the ancients, combined with the expectations, Avhich, 
at that time, began to be more strongly entertained, of 
the promised Messiah as the Angel of the Covenant. 
In regard to the «no'c, Memra, of the Targums, it is 
incontrovertible that the author of that which goes by 
the name of Jonathan, appears studiously to have in- 
troduced the term into such passages as speak of the 
Lord's appearing or revealing himself. According to 
him, it was the Word of the Lo7yI who appeared to 
Abraham ; who went before the people in the wilder- 
ness ; who conversed with Moses on Mount Sinai ; 
spoke to Job out of the whirlwind ; and was seen by 
Isaiah on the throne of his glory. The same usage 
frequently occurs in the more ancient and more valu- 
able Targum of Onkelos, as well as in that of Jeru- 
salem ; and seems perfectly unaccountable on any other 
principle than the prevalence of an opinion among the 
Jews, that, in all such instances, there was the medi- 


ation of some mysterious manifestive poAver, of whom 
divine characteristics are predicable, but who, on these 
occasions, exhibited certain peculiar aspects by which 
he was distinguished from the Invisible Jehovah, on 
whose behalf he mediated, and of whom he was the 
visible representative.^ 

This opinion is more fully developed in the Rabbi- 
nical writings, in which we meet with much respecting 
one whom the authors call Metator (-w^tq'o), or Meta- 
TRON (]"iTii!3''D), a term of uncertain derivation, but in 
which is most likely to be traced the Latin Mediator. 
Though some of the rabbins confound this exalted 
being with the Shechinah, or visible symbol of the 
Divine presence, yet others are careful to distinguish 
him — ascribing to him personal qualities, representing 
him as the Nuntius (n^"?;!?) of Jehovah, and yet as un- 
created ; not of the number of ordinary or created 
angels ; free from sin ; the beginning of the creation 
of God, by whom the world was produced ; in whose 
image man was made ; the author of the law ; the 
teacher of Moses ; him by whom the sins of men were, 
in future time, to be expiated, and who had the power 
to forgive them. They further designate him — The 
Angel, the Prince of the face, the Prince of the law, 
of wisdom, of strength, of majesty, of the temple, 
(comp. Mai. iii. 1,) of kings and rulers, of angels ; 
Prince of the high and exalted, and the many and 

(1) See on the subject of the Mkmra J. J. Langii Dissert. Acad, de Tar- 
gurnim, seu versionum ac paraphrasium V. T. Chaldaicarum, Usu Insigni 
Anti-Judaico in doctrina de Persona Christi : speciatim de voce i^^O'D. seu 
Xo7a), a Chaldaeis de Messia usurpata. s. d. Dr. Laurence's Dissertation on 
the Logos, pp. 13, U. Dr. Pye Smith's Scripture Testimonj^ vol. i. p. 552, 
2d edit. J. J. Guruey'-s Biblical Notes and Dissertations, p. 123. 


noble princes that are in heaven and upon earth. The 
whole is summed up in the most significant figurative 
epithet, rrrsoxn xnor, The Column of Mediation.' 
Now, what specially deserves our notice is the fact, 
that the Rabbins expressly identify this Metatron 
with the Supreme Angel, whose manifestations are 
described in the Old Testament, and who is there 
represented as the Divine conductor of the Hebrew 
people.^ They differ, indeed, in the modes in which 
they express themselves upon the subject; but this is 
nothing more than might naturally be expected, since 
they shut their eyes against the light of the New Tes- 
tament, and chose to wander in the dreary mazes of 
Jewish unbelief, rather than follow Him who is " the 
Light of the world," " the brightness of the Father's 
glory, and the express image of his person." They dis- 
tinctly recognised in "the Angel of Jehovah" features 
of character which they found it impossible to recon- 
cile with their notions respecting ordinary or created 
angels ; but to form a correct idea of his true and 
proper nature was utterly out of their power. 

To return from this digression. The Son of God, 
who, in his pre-existent state, appeared anciently in 
human form to men, and announced to them the Divine 

(1) Buxtorf in voc. PTlC'^O, col. 1191, 1192. Danzius in Meuschenii N. T 
lllustr. p. 721, &c. Eisenmenger's Entdecktes Judenthum, vol. ii. p. 394. 
Edzardi Tract. Berachoth, pp. 226—239. Sommeri Theologia Soharica, p. 3C. 
Glassneri Theol. Sobar, p. 37. Rosenroth's Kabbala denudata, torn. i. p. 528. 
Hengstenherg's Christologie, vol. i. pp. 239—246; or Bib. Repos. for 1833, 
pp. 672—678. 

(2) Rabbi Alshech on Gen. xviii. 2. E.abbi Moses ben Hoshke, as quoted 
by Danzius, ut sup. 


Avill, has likewise, since his glorification, manifested 
liimself corporeally, and held converse with his fol- 
lowers. Of this a signal instance occurs in the history 
of the conversion of Paul, recorded in the ninth chapter 
of the Acts. Attempts, it is true, have been made to 
set aside the miraculous character of the transactions 
there described, and, as usual, to resolve the whole into 
a storm of thunder and lightning, and the supposed 
effects of such natural phenomena on the vivid imagi- 
nation and aroused conscience of the apostle ; but a 
more complete tissue of gratuitous assumptions was 
never thrown round any hypothesis than that exhibited 
in those commentaries in which the anti -miraculous 
view is advanced and defended.^ To suppose that 
when the apostle solemnly avers, both in his apology 
before the Jews, and in that before King Agrippa ; and 
when Luke repeats the statements in a plain, historical 
narrative, not only that he heard a voice from heaven, 
but that this voice was immediately addressed to him ; 
that the communication consisted of certain intelligible 
words, which he specifies ; that these words were in 
the Hebrew language; that he conversed with the 
person from whom the voice jDroceeded ; and when he 
afterwards, in his epistles, declares that he had actually 
seen him ; ^ — to suppose that by all this he means 
nothing more than that he was overtaken by a thunder- 
storm, and merely imagined these things, is so totally 
at variance with sound principles of interpretation, and 
so perfectly irreconcileable with the known sobriety 

(1) Kuinoel on Acts ix. furnishes abundant specimens of the neological 

(2) Comp. Acts ix. with chap. xxii. and xxvi. 


and judgment of the apostle, (not to say absolutely 
incompatible mth the inspiration under the influence 
of which he spoke,) that it seems next to incredible 
how any persons, not led away by the love of novelty, 
or determined jyer fas et nefas to procure support to 
some favourite theory, should, for a moment, succumb 
to such an opinion. If Paul had been a hot-brained 
enthusiast, and there had been no attendant circum- 
stances to control the account which he gives of his 
individual experience, the- possibility of a mental 
illusion might be admitted; but taking into account 
the high and unbending claims of his personal 
character ; the facts that the voice was heard by his 
attendants as well as by himself; and that both Ana- 
nias and Barnabas expressly declare that he had seen 
the Lord Jesus ; the frequent appeals which, in subse- 
quent life, he makes to the event ; and especially the 
radical moral change which that event was made the 
means of effecting ; we are warranted, without hesita- 
tion, to affirm, that it is impossible either psychologi- 
cally or historically, with the least degree of consistency, 
to interpret the language on any other principle than 
that of its obvious literal meaning. 

Some, however, who have ably defended the mira- 
culous character of the circumstances in question, are 
disposed to think, that after all it is not necessary to 
adopt any coiyoreal appearance of the Lord Jesus on 
the occasion. But not to insist on the declarations 
made by Ananias and Barnabas, just referred to, it 
seems clear from the statements of the apostle himself, 
that such actually was the case. Asserting the validity 
of his apostleship, and his equality of rights with the 


other apostles, he asks the Corinthians, — " Have I not 
seen Jesus Christ our Lord?" (1 Cor. ix. 1.) And, 
after enumerating the witnesses who had seen our 
Lord after his resurrection, he adds, — " And last of all 
he was seen by me also, as of one born out of due time." 
(Chap. XV. 8.) The grand point which it is his object 
in this part of his epistle to establish, is the fact of 
Christ's resurrection. To effect this, he adduces 
several instances of actual bodily appearance, which 
were successively afforded to the disciples and other 
believers after that event, than which, it is manifest, 
no evidence could be more satisfactory. But the 
addition of his own evidence, so far from corroborating 
that of the other witnesses, would rather have weakened 
it, if his vision of Christ had not been of the same 
description with theirs. If he had not seen the real 
body which was raised from the dead, but only a 
semblance of it, or if the vision was nothing more 
than an image of it impressed upon his imagination, 
he could not, with any propriety, have borne testi- 
mony to his resurrection, and consequently must have 
been disqualified from being an apostle. 

It is only necessary to add, that, though the body 
of our Lord, as presented to the view of Paul, retained 
and exhibited the indubitable features of humanity, 
yet, as it no longer existed in the state of humiliation 
in which he appeared while on earth, but in the perfect 
and glorified condition in which he now exists in 
heaven, there is reason to conclude that the excessive 
brightness of the splendour, which so powerfully 
affected the apostle's organs of vision as temporarily 
to deprive him of their use, consisted of the rays of 


Christ's glory, which resembled the dazzling efFiilgence 
of the Shechinah, or the visible symbol of the Divine 
presence among the ancient Hebrews. 

We now proceed to examine the import of those 
statements which are made in Scripture respecting the 
visible intervention or personal appearances of angels 
strictly so called, for the purpose of revealing the will 
of God to his church. 

The existence of an order of spirits superior to those 
with which mankind are endowed, is a doctrine of 
pure revelation. Probable arguments in its favour 
have been deduced from the gradations in which all 
beings exist, that come within the scope of our obser- 
vation, and from the universally diffused belief in 
intermediate intelligences between the gods and men 
which has existed in all ages of the world ; but apart 
from the disclosures of holy writ, it is supported by no 
positive or satisfactory proof. From that source, 
however, the most decisive evidence is abundantly 
supplied ; and notwithstanding all the efforts of modern 
Sadduceeism, put forth in the violence of interpreta- 
tion, the suspicions of criticism, the contributions of 
oriental and popular modes of thought, and the much- 
boasted emancipating influence of a superior philosophy, 
to banish the doctrine from the domain of Biblical 
theology, it still continues to retain a firm hold, not 
only on the popular belief, but also on the minds of 
those who have received an enlightened and liberal 
education, and whose only aim is definitely to ascertain, 
and cheerfully to submit to, the dictates of divine truth. 
The attempts that have been made to reduce the angels 


to mere phantoms of the human imagination, to the 
simple elements of nature, or to unusual physical 
phenomena, have signally failed ; and all such attempts 
must fail, so long as the contents of Scripture shall be 
honestly judged of by tested and correct principles of 

The names d'^^';^, and ayyeXoi, by which these supe- 
rior spirits are designated, are indicative not of their 
nature but of their office.^ They are the messengers 
or servants of Jehovah, whose agency he employs for 
the revelation and execution of his will. They are 
represented as ministering unto him by thousands of 
thousands;^ standing before him to receive his high 
behests ; ^ flying with the utmost alacrity to perform 
his pleasure;^ excelling in strength for the purpose of 
carrying into effect his wise and holy designs ;^ and, 
specially, as XsLTovpyiKo. Trvevfuara, " ministering spirits, 
sent forth to minister for those who shall be heirs of 
salvation."® Effects which Grod might have produced 
in a direct or immediate manner, without the interven- 
tion of secondary causes, he has been pleased, for the 
greater display of his infinite wisdom and goodness, 
to devolve upon the operation of their agency. Of the 
mode in which this agency is generally exercised we 
are totally ignorant — it being conducted invisibly, 
imperceptibly, and upon principles belonging to a 

(1) TTS'^'^'D is derived from Tji^h an obsolete Hebrew root, which is preserved 
in the Ethiopic and Arabic, and signifies to send, to delegate, send or go as a 
messenger, render or perform any service. See Gesen. & Win. in Simon. — 
'Ayye\o^ Xe'^erai, 6(a ro cf^-^eWetv roi^ uvOpdnrotv, o<ranep 0oii\erat aujoT^ 
u'tjeTXat 6 rwv oXav TrottiTi/r.— Justin Martyr in Dial, cum Tryph. 

(2) Dan. vii. 10. (3) Ibid. (4) ix. 21. 
(5) Ps. ciii. 20. (6) Heb. i. 14. 


higher sphere of action than that with which we are 
conversant. Nor can any reasonably be surprised 
at our ignorance on this head, who reflect on the 
deficiencies of our knowledge with respect to the 
manner in which even human spirits act on each 
other, or the very limited acquaintance which we 
possess with the nature and operations of our own 
intellectual powers. We receive the fact on the 
authority of Him who cannot deceive us ; and leave 
the mode to be discovered, if it shall please him to 
reveal it, in that world where we shall enjoy imme- 
diate converse with these celestial messengers, and 
where, there is reason to anticipate, the history of 
their wondrous and greatly-diversified ministrations 
will furnish themes of exalted and ineffable delight. 

Of the several remarkable aspects of the agency of 
angels furnished in the sacred volume, that presented 
by the accounts therein contained of their personal 
appearance is most calculated to strike and interest 
the mind. Other instances in which their ministry 
was employed exhibit the wonderful effects of their 
power, but these effects were brought about in an 
invisible manner. And even when they revealed the 
will of God in visions or dreams, presenting themselves 
to view on such occasions as divine messengers, this 
appearance did not consist in any actual contact into 
which they were personally brought with the sense of 
vision, but solely in a scenic representation, which 
they impressed upon the imagination of the persons to 
whom the revelation was made. But in the cases 
which we have here in view, real visible objects were 
presented to the organ of sight. They appear to 


have usually assumed for the time a material body, in 
which they held converse as man with man. Of this 
we have examples in the xviiith and xixth chapters 
of the book of Genesis. At the commencement of the 
former of these two chapters the sacred historian 
informs us in general terms, that Jehovah appeared 
unto Abraham " in the plains of Mamre." He then 
enters into an enumeration of particulars descriptive 
of this Divine manifestation, from which it appears 
that it consisted in the presentation to the view of the 
patriarch of three persons in human form, whom he 
immediately saluted, and towards whom he proceeded 
to perform the customary rites of oriental hospitality. 
That, at this time, he conceived his guests to be more 
than human does not appear ; that it should ever have 
been imagined that all three were Divine persons, 
seems scarcely credible ; yet some injudicious advocates 
of the doctrine of the Trinity have actually advanced 
the absurd hypothesis, and thus given occasion to the 
Jews to turn into ridicule a truth otherwise abun- 
dantly supported by Scripture proofs of the most 
unexceptionable character. Yet, that one of the three 
was a Divine person is a fact, which even the Jews 
themselves have been compelled to admit, on the 
ground of the extraordinary reverence shown to him 
by Abraham ; his promising to perform a miracle in 
restoring pristine vigour to Sarah ; his being expressly 
called Jehovah, ver. 13, 17, 20, 22 ; and his having 
prayer and supplication addressed to him on the part 
of the patriarch, ver. 23 — 32. So powerfully have 
they felt the force of these reasons, that, in pointing 
the word which is translated "Lord" in the third 


verse, thej have not only given it a long vowel, pro- 
nouncing it '^iif, Adondi, which is equivalent, as it 
regards the exclusiveness of its application, to rnn:, 
Jehovah, and thus distinguished it from ':iH, Adoni, 
which only answers to our " Sir," and ':>;, " my lords," 
■but have inserted in the margin the term ^ip, " sacred," 
to intimate that the word, as here employed, is not to 
be read or understood as a common term, but as a 
Divine name, descriptive of the sovereign rule of 
Jehovah. That this construction of the passage is 
very ancient, appears from the manner in which it is 
rendered by the translator in the version of the LXX. 
and by the Chaldee paraphrast. The reading of the 
former is Kvpie, not tcvpie fjov ; that of the latter ;:, 
which is the abbreviated form of nirp, Jehovah. Even 
Dr. Priestley admits that there was a real human 
appearance of Jehovah on the occasion. " There 
" cannot," he says, " be a doubt but that what is here 
" called an appearance of Jehovah was in the form of 
" man. For one of the three (who all appeared in 
" that form) and for whom Abraham even made an 
" entertainment of which they actually partook, ad- 
" dressed him in that character." ^ And on the 9th 
verse he remarks, " That the speaker in this verse is 
" he who assumed the character of the Supreme Being 
" is particularly evident from verse 13." It would 
seem, nevertheless, that whatever there may have been 
of the appearance of superiority in the person to 
whom the patriarch specially addressed himself, he 
did not at first recognise in him any strictly divine 
attribute; and therefore this rendering, however 

(1) Note on Gen. xviii. 1. 


ancient, is not to be defended or followed ; but must 
give place to that of the Venetian Greek y^ecnzor e'/ic), 
our own, and other modern versions, in which the 
language is that which may be employed in reference 
to any superior, or merely as a courteous form of 

The opinion, which has very generally obtained, 
that there was, on this occasion, a personal appearance 
of the Logos, accompanied by two created angels, 
seems to be the only one which harmonizes all the 
circumstances of the narrative. It was He who 
assumed the language and received the homage which 
belonged to Jehovah alone; before whom Abraham 
still continued to stand, after the other messengers 
had departed; who responded to his pleadings in 
behalf of the devoted cities ; and who also disappeared 
at the close of this wonderful scene. 

The angels, in common with their Lord, whom they 
accompanied, partook of the patriarchal hospitality, 
and then proceeded to execute the commission with 
which they had been entrusted. In affirming that 
they actually ate the food which was placed before 
them, we simply assert what is expressly declared by 
the sacred penman, rax'i, " and they did eat." We 
are aware that the supposed absurdity of spirits con- 
suming material food has led to the interpretation that 
their eating was in appearance only, not in reality. 
It is an interpretation of no modern date. It is found 
in Josephus,^ in the Targum of Jonathan, in the 
Talmud,'^ and more recently in the Commentary of 
Solomon Jarchi, and is countenanced by a statement 

(1) Antiq. lib. i. cap. ii. 2. (2) Baba Metzia, cap. vii. 


made in the fabulous book of Tobit.^ It has also been 
adopted by Theodoret, in his Questions on Genesis, 
and by other Christian commentators, both of ancient 
and modern times ; and Thomas Aquinas attempts to 
prove,^ that no other view can be taken of it. But 
that it is perfectly gratuitous must be evident, when 
we reflect, that the bodies in which the angels ap- 
peared were not spectral illusions, or mere phantasmata, 
but proper organic bodies, which actually stood, 
walked, and gave utterance to articulate sounds, just 
as those do, to which our own spirits are united ; and 
with equal consistency might it be maintained, that they 
really performed none of these actions, as to contend 
that their consumption of the food presented to them 
was a mere semblance of the act, and not the act itself. 
Whether the food thus consumed was absolutely 
required for the sustenance of the bodies in which 
they appeared, or whether it was actually converted 
into animal substance, it would be presumption either 
to affirm or deny ; but that they did not literally par- 
take of the repast which had been provided for them 
can only be asserted on principles of interpretation 
which would disturb the security of all simple histo- 
rical narrative. 

From the intimate coherence of the matter which 
forms the subject of these two chapters, it has, ivith 
the greatest probability, been inferred, that the two 
angels, c^Dx'??3n \:-^, who are described as coming to Lot 
in Sodom, are the same who had just left Abraham. 
And that they appeared to him in the same human 
form is equally obvious from the circumstances of the 

(1) Cap. xii. 10. (2) Quest. 41 Art. 111. 


story. They not only presented themselves to his 
bodily organs of vision, and to those of the inhabitants 
of Sodom, but conversed with him in an audible 
manner ; and it is said of them in reference to tlie 
feast which he prepared for them, as it was in refer- 
ence to the former instance, that " they did eat." 

The principal design of their visit was to announce 
to Lot and his family the purpose of God to destroy 
the abandoned city which he had unwisely selected for 
the place of his residence, and to urge their immediate 
escape from the impending catastrophe. In making 
this announcement, they blended tones of earnestness 
with accents of mercy ; and did not quit the object of 
their guardian solicitude till they had conducted him 
safely to Zoar. 

Another remarkable instance of angelic appearance 
occurs in the history of David. We are informed, 
1 Chron. xxi. that, in visitation of his presumptuous 
conduct in causing an enrolment to be made of all 
Israel, with a view, it would seem, partly to gratify a 
vain-glorious disposition, and partly to create a per- 
manent military service, an angel was despatched to 
inflict pestilence on the land, in consequence of which 
not fewer than seventy thousand of the people perished. 
The same celestial messenger was commissioned to 
destroy the metropolis, and had actually begun to 
execute his commission, when Jehovah graciously 
arrested him in his progress. In order more deeply 
to impress the mind of the monarch with a sense of the 
impending judgment which he had been charged to 
inflict, the angel took his station by the threshing-floor 
of Oman the Jebusite, where he was distinctly seen 


by David, rising majestically in form, between the 
earth and the heaven, with a drawn sword in his hand, 
stretched out over Jerusalem. In the mean time he 
communicated to Gad a divine message, which that 
prophet was instructed to deliver to the king — it not 
being deemed proper, under the peculiar aggravation 
of the monarch's guilt, that he should be honoured 
with any direct revelation on the part of the angel. 

It has been thought by some, that as the Jews were 
accustomed to regard certain diseases, and even death 
itself, as under the control and direction of individual 
angels, and to speak of the pestilence as " the angel of 
death," the whole account of the appearance contained 
in this chapter and the parallel one, 2 Sam. xxiv., may 
l)e resolved into a figurative or poetical description of 
that awful malady. To such a construction of the 
narrative, however, insuperable objections present 
themselves. In the first place, the occurrence of a 
bold, poetical figure, in plain, unimpassioned prose, 
would be altogether out of place. Every other part 
of the style of this historical portion of sacred truth is 
of the most simple description ; and the idea of any 
thing else being here meant by the phrase " the angel 
of the Lord " than a real superhuman intelligent agent, 
the idea uniformly attaching to it elsewhere in Scrip- 
ture, would never occur to any one who was not 
anxious to derive support from it in favour of some 
preconceived opinion. Secondly, it cannot be proved 
that the Jewish notion respecting the angels presiding 
over certain diseases, obtained till after the captivity ; 
consequently, any application of such a notion with a 
view to elucidate an historical document of so early 



a date as that of Samuel is totally irrelevant. Like 
many other ideas which we find among the later Jews, 
there is every reason to believe it was adopted by 
them during the exile, when they were brought into 
close contact with the superstitions of their conquerors. 
Thirdly, nothing would be more ridiculous or absurd 
than to refer the different particulars, which are so 
definitely and specifically described, to any other than 
a real personal appearance. The standing between 
the earth and the heaven ; the drawn sword in the 
hand of the angel ; his being seen both by David and 
by Oman, with his four sons, who were so struck with 
fear that they immediately hid themselves ; and his 
giving an order to David to erect an altar to Jehovah 
— are circumstances of so marked a character, that 
every attempt to explain them away, or diminish their 
force, merits unqualified reprobation. 

Of the different angelic appearances recorded in the 
New Testament, none are more remarkable, or ex- 
hibited with a greater degree of prominence, than 
those of Gabriel, of which we have an account in the 
first chapter of the Gospel by Luke. It is only a 
short time since the enemies of our Lord's miraculous 
conception called in question the authenticity of the 
initial portion of this Gospel; and Mr. Belsham had 
at once the effrontery and imprudence to print it with 
Italics, as if it had actually been spurious, in his 
" Improved Version" of the New Testament. So 
completely, however, has its genuineness been demon- 
strated, that even Paulus, the coryphaeus of the Neo- 
logians, has shown that the sceptical view cannot be 
sustained on any grounds either of an internal or of 


an historical nature ; but, true to the wretched prin- 
ciples of pseudo-hermeneutics with which his mind 
has long been imbued, he sets himself to reduce every 
thing of a supernatural character to the level of what 
he designates " spiritual intuition ;" and, after advert- 
ing to what he conceives to have been the external 
occasion, proceeds psychologically to explain the nar- 
rative. According to him, the scene in which Zecha>- 
riah was concerned was partly an optical and partly 
a mental illusion. Under the influence of feelings of 
the most profound reverence, the priest of the course 
of Abiah approached the altar for the first time in the 
performance of his duty, and, as the fumes of incense 
ascended to heaven, the rays of light from the seven 
lamps of the candlestick in the holy place were inter- 
cepted, and formed all kinds of shapes, and, among 
others, one of a most singular appearance at the right 
side of the altar, which he took to be a celestial genius. 
All that followed was the mere working of his imagi- 
nation, aided by the fond wishes of his heart, to which 
he had given utterance in prayer. The address of the 
angel, his own interrogatories, and the reply that was 
made to them, were all purely ideal ! But the psycho- 
logical interpreter does not stop here. By the magic 
touch of his hermeneutical wand, the dumbness of 
Zechariah is resolved into simple silence — a silence 
which, for the space of nine months, he was afraid to 
break, lest it might frustrate the hopes which had 
been excited in his mind ! ^ It may truly be aflarmed, 
that how deficient soever the Scriptures may appear 
in real miracles to the eye of thorough-paced Ration- 

(1) Exeget. Handbuch. 


alists, there is no lack of the wonderful and incredible 
in the expositions which they have furnished of such 
passages as contain them. 

But what student of the Divine oracles is there who 
has made himself acquainted with the various circum- 
stances connected with the early revelations, and in- 
terpreted the language of the historical documents in 
which they are embodied, according to just principles 
of exegesis, who does not discover in the account 
which Luke furnishes of the communications between 
the angel and Zechariah, features of supernatural in- 
terposition perfectly parallel in character with those 
which took place under preceding economies? The 
description here given is in the same simple, unadorned, 
narrative style, which we find in the writings of 
Moses, and other books of the Old Testament con- 
taining statements respecting the appearance of angelic 
beings to the servants of Jehovah. There is evidently, 
in this respect, an almost imperceptible transition from 
the ancient state of things to that which introduced 
the Christian dispensation. The ministering spirits 
who had formerly been commissioned to make known 
the will of God, and especially to announce important 
future events, are now employed to prepare the way 
for the grand revelation, with a prospective view to 
which all the others had been imparted. Of these 
one is selected to enjoy the distinguished honour of 
predicting the immediate birth of the Saviour, and of 
his harbinger and relative, John. On presenting him- 
self at first to Zechariah, he is spoken of indefinitely 
as ** an angel of the Lord ;" and it is clear the offici- 
ating priest could only have regarded him as one of 


those celestial messengers of whom he had often read 
in the holy Scriptures ; but, in the course of his inter- 
view with him, he ascertained from himself that he 
was the identical angel who had announced to Daniel 
the period of the seventy weeks, and the advent and 
death of Messiah. With the exception of Michael, 
who is designated " one of the chief princes," (Dan. 
X. 13,) he is the only angel specified by name in the 
inspired volume. From the circumstance of his 
assuming the human form, and conversing familiarly 
as the messenger of God in that form, he was called 
'"^i^'y^l, Gabriel, i.e. " the man of God;" and it is in 
reference to this that Daniel describes him as "jwnn: t^sn, 
THE MAN Gabriel, (ch. ix. 21.) He speaks of him- 
self as standing in the presence of God, by which is 
intimated the favour in which he was Avith the Most 
High, and his readiness to receive and execute Divine 
commands. On the present occasion he was not only 
commissioned to promise Zecliariah a son, who should 
prepare the world for the appearance of the long- 
expected Messiah, but empowered miraculously to 
deprive him for a time of the use of speech, as a mark 
of the displeasure of God on account of his unbelief. 

Six months afterwards the same exalted messenger 
was despatched to Nazareth, for the specific purpose 
of communicating to the Virgin Mary the news that 
she was to be the mother of our Lord. His appear- 
ance filled her with perturbation of mind, which he 
immediately proceeded to remove ; and after delivering 
his message, and assuring her of the certainty of the 
promise which it contained receiving its fulfilment, he 
withdrew into the invisible world. 


On comparing the instances of the actual appear- 
ance of angels, of which those we have just inves- 
tigated are merely a specimen, the conviction is 
irresistibly forced upon the mind, that, upon such 
occasions, they assumed real, though not permanent, 
material bodies. Functions, proper to real bodies, are 
unequivocally ascribed to them. They became the 
subjects of real, not of imaginary vision. They spoke 
in audible language. They came into real and palpable 
contact with those to whom they were sent. They 
were recognised as real material objects, endowed with 
intelligence, not only by one, but by more persons at 
the same time. In short, the evidence in support of 
the conclusion at which we have arrived, is so full and 
satisfactory, that it is difficult to perceive how it can 
be resisted. 

That angels are not, in their own nature, pure 
spirits, but are invested with tenuous, subtil bodies, is 
an opinion which was early imported from the Platonic 
school into the Christian Church. Most of the Fathers 
held that pure incorporeity is a property exclusively 
distinctive of the Divine nature, and that all other 
spirits have a corporeal vestment — thin, indeed, ethe- 
real, and totally different from whatever belongs to 
the grossness of our material bodies, yet as completely 
distinguishing them from the absolutely incorporeal 
God, as those with which mankind are invested re- 
move them to a distance from these celestial intel- 
ligences. So extensively did this tenet at length 
prevail, that at the seventh (Ecumenical, or second 
Nicene council, held at Nicaea in the year 787, it was 
established as a point of orthodox belief. It was 


afterwards, however, called in question by many of 
the schoolmen, who adopted the opinion of Lombard, 
that the angels have no corpus proprium, i. e. no body 
of their own, but have it in their power to assume 
one, in order to become visible to men.^ Several of 
the modern continental divines, as Reinhard, Doder- 
lein, Ammon, and Bretschneider,^ have revived the 
ancient dogma ; and it has been thought by some that 
the admission of such thin, subtil bodies of fire or air, 
would facilitate our conceptions of the operations of 
angels within the sphere of the material world. But 
an impartial investigation of the various phenomena 
connected with their actual appearances as described 
in Scripture, shows that even if we were to adopt this 
opinion, it would not advance us a single step in our 
knowledge of the subject, nor enable us to form, in 
any degree, a more satisfactory judgment respecting 
the mode in which those superior beings placed them- 
selves in material contact with humanity. The pro- 
duction of those bodies or vehicles through which 
they held intercourse with men, was, so far as our 
acquaintance with material bodies goes, strictly mira- 
culous ; and it is difficult to conceive how pure spiri- 
tuahty on the one hand, or an ethereal corporeity of 
angelic nature on the other, in any way affects this 
undeniable fact of the case. 

(1) Knapp's Christian Theology, vol. i. pp. 430, 4,31. 

(2) Bretschneider's Handbuch der Dogmatik, vol. i. p 597. 



HEB. I. 1, 2. 

" God, ivho at sundry times and in divers manners spake 
in time past unto the fathers hy the prophets, hath in 
these last days spoTcen unto us hy his Son, whom he 
hath appointed heir of all things, hy whom also he 
made the worlds^ 

In the last Lecture a view was taken of the employ- 
ment of angelic agency in revealing the will of God to 
his church ; and several instances were adduced with 
a view to elucidate the manner in which it was ren- 
dered available for that end. There remains to be 
considered a transaction of a mixed character in the 
history of divine revelations, in which the angels are 
represented as having taken part — the giving of the 
law from Mount Sinai. In asserting that this trans- 
action, so memorable in the history of the Hebrews, 
exhibits a mixed character, we do it on the ground 
that it consisted partly in the exercise of the media- 
torial agency of the Logos, and partly in that of angels, 
and combined, in the entireness of the scene, a remark- 


able personal manifestation with the employment of 
invisible power, and the widely-extended production 
of audible and intelligible language. 

The presence of an immense number of angels on 
that occasion can only be called in question by those 
who make light of the testimony of Scripture, or do 
not believe in the existence of such beings, or in their 
ministry in reference to human affairs. In direct allu- 
sion to this event, the author of Ps. Ixviii. 17, sings in 
the following strains : " The chariots of God are twenty 
" thousand, even thousands of angels : the Lord is 
" among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place." In 
the poem composed by Moses, and delivered to the 
children of Israel immediately before his death, he 
thus commences in language of uncommon grandeur 
and beauty : 

" Jehovah came from Sinai, 
He arose from Seir, 
He shone from Mount Paran : 
He came with holy myriads : 
In his right hand he had a fiery law, 
(Yet he loved the people.) 
All thy holy ones were with thee, 
They bowed themselves at thy feet ; — 
They each conveyed thy oracles. 
A law Moses ordained for us, 
An inheritance for the congregation of Jacob. 
In Jeshurun he was king, 
When the chiefs of the people assembled, 
When the tribes of Israel were one." ' 

Making every allowance for the poetic costume in 
which the facts here described are arrayed, it is un- 
questionable that it is the object of the Jewish legis- 
lator to celebrate the majestic descent of Jehovah on 

(1) Deut. xxxiii. 2—5. See Note H. 


Sinai, the effulgence of which was reflected through 
the whole of the Arabian desert ; that, in this descent, 
he was accompanied by myriads of holy angels ; that 
the object to be attained by it was the solemn announce- 
ment of his law ; that these superior spirits prostrated 
themselves in his presence, and received the divine 
commandments to promulgate among the people ; that 
though the law was delivered under circumstances 
that were highly calculated to inspire the Israelites 
with alarm, it was nevertheless to be regarded as a 
signal proof of the love of Jehovah towards them ; and, 
finally, that the law thus given became their peculiar 
and exclusive property. 

That it was the Logos, or the Son of God, in his 
pre-existent manifestive character, whose glory was 
displayed on this occasion, is placed beyond dispute by 
the declaration of Stephen, that it was " the Angel, 
Tov 'Ayyg'Aou, who spake to Moses in the Mount Sinai," 
— namely, the same angel whom he had just mentioned 
as having appeared to him in the bush ; whom he de- 
signates the angel of the Lord, and who proclaimed 
himself to be the God of his fathers — the God of 
Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. 
(Acts vii. 30 — 38.) ^ Nor is the evidence of this fact 
less convincing which is furnished by Paul in his 
Epistle to the Hebrews. Warning that people against 
apostasy, he reminds them of the punishment which 

(1) Most of the Fathers recognised the divine Logos in the angel who 
appeared at the bush ; but none of them has expressed himself more explicitly 
than Theodoret : "OXov to x^p/ov, he says, 6eiKvv<Tt Qeov ovra rov o(pdevTa' 
Keii\t]Ke 5e aurov Kal afyeXov, 'iva fvSbnev, wy 6 o(pOe'n- ovK eartv 6 ©eor Kai 
TTOT^p" rivot yap ayyeKoi 6 narrjp ; uW 6 novoyev'rjK i/ior 6 fieydKrtt /3ov\rit 
aYYe\or.— Quest. V. in Exod. 


had been inflicted upon those who refused to obey 
Moses, who was merely of earthly origin ; and con- 
trasting with his the superior dignity and authority 
of Christ, he adds, "Whose voice then shook the 
earth'" — a statement which is allowed by the best 
commentators to identify our Saviour with Jehovah, 
the God of Israel, whose voice convulsed Sinai, and 
filled the people with terror. In corroboration of this 
view of the subject may be adduced the circumstance, 
that soon after the promulgation of the decalogue, 
when, by special invitation, Moses, vnih Aaron, Nadab, 
Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, ascended 
the Mount, they were favoured with a vision of the 
God of Israel. It is common, indeed, to explain the 
object of this vision so as to make it signify nothing 
more than a singular display of the Divine glory ; but 
such an interpretation is no less at variance with the 
usage of the phrase than it is with other parts of the 
sacred narrative. To see God, in the language of the 
Pentateuch, signifies either to have a view of his 
divine essence, which is declared to be impossible for 
mortals, or to have such a view of him as was afforded 
when he is said to have appeared to any one, namely, 
in a certain visible form, more or less glorious accord- 
ing to circumstances. The Israelites saw the glory of 
the Lord, (Exod. xxiv. 17,) yet it is never affirmed of 
them that they saw the Lord himself. On the con- 
trary, Moses appeals to their own knowledge of the 
fact, that no similitude was presented to their view, 

(1) Heb. xii. 25, 26, " Whose voice," i. e. the voice of Christ : so Michaelis, 
Storr, Cramer, Rosenmiiller, Boehme, Kuinoel, and Bloomfield. It is one of 
the many passages in the New Testament which ascribe to Christ the same 
things that are ascribed to Jeliovah in the Old Testament. — Stuart, in loc. 


(Deut. iv. 12) : " The Lord spake unto you out of the 
midst of the fire : ye heard the voice of the words, but 
saw no similitude ; only ye heard a voice." It Avas 
a privilege, however, which Moses enjoyed, as we are 
expressly informed. Numbers xii. 8 : " And the simi- 
litude of the Lord shall he behold." And there is 
reason to believe, that though his elect companions 
were not permitted to obtain so full a discovery on the 
occasion to which reference is here made as that con- 
ferred upon him, they nevertheless did behold Him, 
who, before his actual assumption of human nature, 
existed " in the form of God," {^op<pov Qeov, the simi- 
litude, likeness of God,) " and thought it no robbery 
to be equal with God," when thus manifesting himself 
to his ancient people. (Phil. ii. 7.) The language of 
the whole passage is quite peculiar : " And they saw 
" the God of Israel ; and there was under his feet, as 
" it were, a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it 
" were the body of the heaven in his clearness. And 
" upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not 
" his hand : also they saw God, and did eat and drink." 
(Exod. xxiv. 10, 11.) 

Most of those who have admitted the fact of angelic 
ministration at the giving of the law, confine that 
ministration to their attendance in regular hosts or 
bands ; while some go further, and maintain that they 
were employed in producing the awful physical 
phenomena which accompanied the event. The former 
class endeavour to find support to their hypothesis by 
pressing the etymological meaning of the words em- 
ployed by Stephen and Paul, when describing the 
transaction. In his address to the Jews, the proto- 


martyr states, that their ancestors, whom they resem- 
bled in obstinacy, " received the law by the disposition 
of angels," elg haraydg dyyeXivv, (Acts vii. 53.) And 
the Apostle, writing to the Galatians, (ch. iii. 19,) says, 
that it " was ordained by angels, dinrayeig ^t dyyiXwv, 
in the hand of a mediator." In the passage in the 
Acts, the original term rendered "disposition" is 
derived from that which, in the Epistle, is translated 
" ordained." And as both have been taken in a mili- 
tary sense to denote the marshalling or arranging of 
troops in order of battle, and the divisions or squadrons 
thus aiTanged, it has been inferred that the idea 
intended to be conveyed is that of the regular order 
or arrangement which obtained among the myriads of 
angels who were present at the promulgation of the 
law. Now, though it is conceded that the verb 
^LardafTii) is frequently used in a military sense, yet the 
substantive ^laray^ is never so employed ; and as both 
are applied in common usage to acts of legislation, 
which is the subject of which the sacred writers are 
treating, it seems more reasonable to conclude that 
they used them in their current acceptation, as it 
respects the act of promulgating laws, than that they 
only meant to say, that, when the law was given, the 
angels were present in cohorts or troops, attending 
upon the Divine Majesty. The one interpretation is 
tame, and little to the point ; the other is appropriate 
to the occasion. Nor does it seem the most natural 
construction to be put upon the passages in question, to 
restrict the meaning to any thing like mere accessory 
subserviency, as if the angels only increased the exter- 
nal pomp, or at most produced the thunders, lightnings, 


and tempest, but took no direct or immediate part in 
announcing the law itself to the assembled Israelites. 
It only requires a cursory glance at the parallel in- 
stances quoted by the critics to perceive, that the terms 
here employed express actual agency with respect to 
the communication of the Divine institutes, and that, 
if any thing less had been intended, very different 
phraseology would have been employed. 

But what appears to set the question completely at 
rest is the positive manner in which the apostle speaks 
respecting it, (Hebrews ii. 2,) where he asserts that 
the word was spoken by angels, 6 Si dyyeXwv XaXrjdeiQ 
XoyoQ. That it is the Sinaic law he means by " the 
word," and not any of the other communications made 
through their instrumentality to the ancients, is evident 
from the connexion, from what is predicated of those 
who treated it with contempt, and from a comparison 
with chap. x. 28, 29, and xii. 25. And it is equally 
clear, from the identity of the mode in which the law 
and the gospel are here said to have been announced, 
that it was a v'erbal ministration with which the angels 
were occupied at Sinai — the law which was spoken by 
them being contrasted with the message of " salvation, 
" which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, 
" and was afterwards confirmed by them that heard 
" him," (ver. 3.) It has been objected to this view of 
the subject, that no mention is made of any articulate 
words, enunciated by angels, in the history of the 
transaction contained in the Pentateuch ; but that, on 
the contrary, whatever was spoken is said to have been 
spoken by God himself. But to this it is sufficient to 
reply, that the history makes no reference whatever 


even to the presence of angels on the occasion ; and 
that we are warranted to believe that they were 
actually engaged in communicating the law to the 
people on the very same authority on which we believe 
that they took any part at all in the transaction — the 
express testimony of the New Testament.^ Nor must 
it be forgotten, that though the passage already quoted 
from Deuteronomy is not clothed in the simple style of 
history, but appears in the garb of poetry, it is never- 
theless based upon historical facts, and, as we have 
already shown, unequivocally teaches both the presence 
of those celestial beings, and the nature of their 
ministry at the giving of the law. With respect to 
that part of the objection which asserts to Jehovah the 
exclusive enunciation of the decalogue, it -will not 
weigh with any who are familiar with the circum- 
stance, that, in the Bible, just as in other books, an 
individual is frequently said to do that w^hich he really 
eifects through the instrumentality of another, or which 
they do conjointly. 

The fact of the case seems to have been this : God 
distinctly and audibly delivered his law on the moun- 
tain, and each commandment, as it was pronounced, 
was repeated in loud and thrilHng tones by the vast 
company of angels by w^hom he was surrounded, just 
as afterwards, w^hen the new^s of the Saviour's birth 
were announced to the shepherds, " there was suddenly 

( 1 ) The statements of the New Testament in regard to this suhject are 
quite in accordance with the traditionary interpretation of the Jews. Thus 
Josephus puts the words into the mouth of Herod, when addressing the 
Jewish army: rwv fiev 'EWtjvuv lepovs Kal aavXovi eivai tovs Ktjpvaai (pantvwv, 
rifxiov 6e Tu KaWiCTtx rihv dofisdrav, Ka'i to. oaiooTtira toov kv tji? i/6/uo<9 6(' 
ayjiXwv irapa rov Oeov fiatiovTutv' — Antiqq. lib. XV. v. 3. 


" with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, 
" praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the 
" highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." 
It is not more difficult to conceive of the transmission 
of the articulate sounds in the one case than it is in 
the other, though it is impossible for us to form any 
thing like an adequate conception of the transcen- 
dently-powerful effect which must have been produced 
by the magnitude of sound proceeding from the united 
myriads, whose service was employed on the solemn 
occasion. While such a representation of the nature 
of this great transaction at Sinai cannot, it is pre- 
sumed, give offence to any candid mind, it has the 
advantage of harmonizing the otherwise conflicting- 
circumstances which press upon our notice. It is 
advanced, of course, purely as an hypothesis, as every 
statement necessarily must be which respects objects, 
the existence of which, but not the manner of whose 
existence and operations, is revealed to us. 

We conclude what we have to offer, in this place, 
respecting the ministry of angels in revealing the mind 
of God, with the following historical remarks. In the 
patriarchal ages, or the periods which preceded the 
establishment of the Jewish dispensation, their appear- 
ances, both in real bodily formSj and in dreams, were 
more numerous than afterwards ; which may be ac- 
counted for by the circumstance, that the Church was 
at that time without any public interpreters of the 
Divine will. Each father of a family, or he failing, 
the eldest son, officiated in holy things on behalf of 
tliose with whom he was connected by the ties of 
domestic relationship. The extraordinary dealings of 


God with men possessed more of an individual cha- 
racter, and were consequently more limited in regard 
to the extent of their immediate operation and influ- 
ence than they were afterwards. In the time of Moses 
and Joshua- no instances occur of their actual appear- 
ance — Jehovah revealing his will directly to Moses ; 
though, as we have seen, their agency was employed 
at Sinai. During the period of the Judges, and of 
Samuel and David, they are again introduced to our 
notice ; after which their visible ministry seems to 
have been withdrawn till about the time of the Baby- 
lonish captivity, and at the commencement of the 
Christian dispensation, when it reassumes a promi- 
nence in the history of Divine revelation. But even 
then it still retains much of the same character of par- 
ticularity by which it had originally been marked, 
having immediate respect to peculiar circumstances in 
the experience of individuals, rather than a general 
bearing upon the illumination of the Church of God. 

Another mode by which Jehovah signified his will 
in a supernatural manner was the n'^arn cnw, Urim 
and Thummim. Wherein precisely this mode of reve- 
lation consisted, and what is the precise import of the 
terms by which it is described, are points which it is 
impossible to determine with any degree of accuracy, 
owing to the limited nature of the information which 
the Scriptures furnish respecting them. Strictly 
speaking, no description whatever is given of the 
Urim and Thummim ; which is the more remarkable, 
on account of the fulness and minuteness of the de- 
scription furnished of the ephod and breastplate with 


which they were connected. Tliere are only two pas- 
sages in the Mosaic law in which they are specifically 
mentioned along with the high priest's dress, but in 
both they are assumed as something already known. 
In Exod. xxviii. 29, 30, we read, " And Aaron shall 
" bear the names of the children of Israel in the 
" breastplate of judgment upon his heart, Avhen he 
" goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before 
" the Lord continually. And thou shalt put in the 
" breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thum- 
" mim ; and they shall be upon Aaron's heart when 
" he goeth in before the Lord : and Aaron shall bear 
" the judgment of the children of Israel upon his 
" heart before the Lord continually." And in the 
account given (Lev. viii. 5 — 9) of the investiture of 
Aaron and his sons, it is stated, " And he put the 
breastplate upon him : also he put in the breastplate 
the Urim and the Thummim." From the circumstance 
that they are expressly spoken of as being jnit in the 
breastplate, it is impossible to adopt the opinion of 
Prideaux, who, to elude the difficulties which clog the 
several hypotheses to which he refers, maintains that 
nothing more is meant by them than " the divine 
" virtue and power, given to the breastplate at its 
" consecration, of obtaining an oracular answer from 
" God, whenever counsel was asked of him by the 
" high priest with it on, in such manner as his word 
" did direct ; and that the names of Urim and Thum- 
" mim were given to them only to denote the clearness 
" and perfection which these oracular answers always 
" carried with tliem." The language obviously implies 
that they were material substances, corresponding, in 


some way or other, to the pectoral, in which they were 
inserted. The same fact is completely subversive of 
the theory of Josephus and the Jews, and generally 
approved by Braunius, Schroeder, Dathe, Bellermann, 
and many other moderns, that they were merely the 
precious stones in the breastplate, and that they de- 
rived their name from the excessive splendour pro- 
duced by the rays of light reflected from so many 
precious gems. In both the passages just quoted, 
however, they are represented as distinct— as some- 
thing existing separately, before being placed in the 
breastplate. No mention, it is true, is made of them 
in Exodus, where there is a description of the stones ; 
and in Leviticus, where mention is made of the Urim 
and Thummim, there is no account of the stones ; but 
no legitimate argument can hence be drawn in support 
of their identity, since the breastplate, so far as the 
gems are concerned, was evidently complete without 
the Urim, which are represented as having been super- 
added after the gems were set. They were, in fact, no 
part of the breastplate properly so called.^ 

According to the opinion first broached by Chris- 
topher a Castro,^ and borrowed from him by Spencer, 
who wrote an elaborate dissertation on the subject,^ 
the Urim and Thummim were two small golden 
images, or one such image, in human form, through 
which God, or an angel commissioned by him, gave 

(1) Such is clearly the view taken of the subject by David Kimchi and 
other rabbins : 'Cb HOT O D'Onm CnWH DH TTO "i:"?:?*^ "»"Qn2 N7 
]\LTTn '21i< ''^h^1 -inx "QI amD D'piCDn-— Lib. Rad. in. voc. m^*. 

(2) De Vaticin. lib. iii. c. 3. 

(3) De Legibus Hebraeorum, torn. ii. Dissert, vii. 


audible responses to the high priest respecting aU 
points of difficulty on which he aj^plied for decision. 
Both authors are further of opinion that these images 
were adopted from among the teraphim, or super- 
stitious figures, to the worship or consultation of which 
the ancients were greatly addicted ; and that the object 
of their exclusive appropriation by Moses was to re- 
strain the Hebrews from the private use of them, and 
teach them to look to Jehovah alone for oracular in- 
struction. The principal passage on which this opinion 
is founded is Hosea iii. 4, where it is predicted that 
" the children of Israel shall abide many days without 
" a king, and without a prince, and without a sacri- 
" fice, and without an image, and without an ephod, 
" and without teraphim,''^ where, it is maintained, the 
connexion of the teraphim with the ephod clearly 
shows that they occupied the same place, consequently 
were identical with the Urim and Thummim. But it 
by no means appears that such is the true construction 
of the passage. The prophet is describing a length- 
ened period during which the posterity of Abraham 
were to live, not merely in the disuse of the peculiar 
ordinances enjoined in the law of Moses, but also in a 
state of total abstinence from the use of idolatrous 
rites — precisely the state in which they have now 
lived for more than seventeen centuries. The passage 
couples four contrary objects by pairs ; one of which 
is legitimate, and the other illegitimate. The sacri- 
fice (nil) and the ephod (liosf) were of Divine appoint- 
ment ; the image or pillar (n??p) on which libations 
were poured, and the teraphim (D'p^r)) or penates, were 
either expressly prohibited, or regarded as pertaining 


to idolatry. The same view of the teraphim is fur- 
nished by the connexion in which they occur in the 
history of Micah, (Judges xvii. 14): " Then answered 
" the five men that went to spy out the country of 
" Laish, and said unto their brethren, Do ye know 
" that there is in these houses an ephod, and teraphim, 
" and a graven image, and a molten image?" It is 
altogether a gratuitous assumption to assert that the 
ephod and the teraphim were an imitation of the dress 
of the Hebrew high priest. The whole appears to 
have been idolatrous in its character. " His mother 
" took two hundred shekels of silver, and gave them 
" to the founder, who made thereof a graven image 
" and a molten image ; and they were in the house of 
" Micah. And the man Micah had an house of gods, 
" and made an ephod and teraphim, and consecrated 
" one of his sons, who became his priest," (ver. 4, o.) 
But even on the supposition that there was imitation 
on the part of Micah, it does not follow, that, because 
the teraphim are mentioned along with the ephod, 
they must necessarily have symbolized other teraphim 
in the sacred breastplate. It is much more natural to 
suppose that they were designed as a substitute for 
the true God himself, whose responses, as we shall 
presently see, were vouchsafed to the high priest, 
when in full garniture he applied for judgment. 

The idea that Jehovah, the very mention of whose 
name removes him to an immeasurable distance from 
aU idols, should have introduced into one of the most 
solemn acts of appeal to himself, as the only living and 
true God, an object or objects, which had, from time 
immemorial, received the superstitious homage of the 


great bulk of mankind, is so totally repugnant to all 
our conceptions of his character, and all the enact- 
ments of his law, that we can onlj ascribe its adoption 
to the powerful influence of prejudice in favour of a 
particular hypothesis. The incorporation of images 
into any part of the Mosaic institute, in accommo- 
dation to the grossness of Hebrew prepossessions, 
would have been an act of condescension utterly irre- 
concileable with the integrity of the Divine Being. 
So far would such an arrangement have been from 
suppressing idolatry, which Spencer and others state 
to have been its object, that it must have tended most 
directly to promote it.^ 

A modification of this opinion is that expressed by 
Philo,^ which is still held by many, and asserted by 
Gesenius in his Lexicons, according to which the 
Urim and Thummim were two small oracular images 
personifying Mevelation and Truth, which were placed 
in the cavity of the breastplate. What has been sup- 
posed to yield support to this view is the fact stated 
by Diodorus Siculus^ and ^li^lian,* that the Supreme 
Judge among the Egyptians wore about his neck a 
golden chain set with precious gems, in which was an 
image called Truth, the Egyptian word for which is 

(1) For a complete refutation of Spencer, see Witsii JEgj-ptiaca, and 
Pococke on Hosea iii. 4. 

(2) De Vita Mosis, torn. ii. p. 152. 

(3) k<p6pei 6e ovroi (6 tipx«5tKacrT>;r) irepi tov Tpcixri\ov Ik xP"""*)* 

a.\var€W9 TipTr]iJ.tvov ^liidiov ruiv TroXvreXwv XiOixiv, 6 npoariyopevov aXfjOeiav. — 
Biblioth. Hist. lib. i. 

(4) AiKacTai to upxouov nap XiyvTrriot^ lepeT, t'^aaii' riv df tootoov apxwv 
6 -irpecr/SuTUTOi, Kai ediKa^ev cnravTa^' edei dt avrov eivai SiKatoraTOu uv- 
tipwwiav aal a^eidimaTcov' ei'x€ ^e Kat ayaXfjLa Trepi tov ai/xeva tK (ran^eipov 
XiOov, aai fcKu\etTO to ayaKfia aXijOeia. — Hist. Var. lib. xiv. cap. 34. 


Tliemei, in sound resembling Thummim. It so happens 
that the LXX. have translated c^pn, Thummim, by 
dX7]deia, which has the same signification ; and it is 
by no means impossible that they might have design- 
edly adopted the term, in order to conciliate the 
favourable regard of the Egyptians. But granting all 
this, there is nothing to prove the priority of such a 
custom to the Mosaic institute. The writers in ques- 
tion flourished at too late a period to render their 
testimony of any value further than as it regards its 
existence in their time ; and, in all probability, the 
reference made in their works would never have led 
to an institution of the comparison, if it had not been 
for the coincidence that the same term is that em- 
ployed in the Greek version. 

Equally unsatisfactory is the theory advanced by 
Michaelis,^ and approved by Jahn,^ that the Urim and 
Thummim constituted the sacred lot of the Hebrews, 
and consisted of three stones, on one of which was 
engraven p. Yes; on the second «"5, No; the third 
being destitute of any inscription. In order to obtain 
a direct answer, the question, it is thought, was always 
put in such a way as to caU forth one or other of these 
words, in case any answer was given. 

Nor is there the smallest degree of probability in 
the hypothesis, which is perhaps the most generally 
approved of all, that they consisted in the emission of 
light from such of the letters composing the names of 
the twelve tribes engraven upon the stones in the 

(1) Note on Exod. xxviii. 30, and Commentaries on the Laws of Moses. 
Art. ccciv, 

(2) Imrod, § 370. 


breastplate, as were required in order to form the 
words of the response. It having been discovered by 
the Rabbins, most of whom held this opinion, that the 
Hebrew alj^habet as furnished by the names of the 
tribes was incomplete, they first added the names of 
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the progenitors of the 
nation ; but finding that the letter Teth was still want- 
ing, they ingeniously hit upon a whole sentence : " All 
these are the tribes of Israel," ^ in one of the words of 
which it is found. That this Talmudical camel, as 
Spencer justly calls it, should have been swallowed by 
so many Christian Rabbins, is truly astonishing, and 
could scarcely be believed were it not for the propen- 
sity which exists in the human mind, to avow almost 
any opinion rather than acknowledge its own igno- 

In contemplation of the judgment with the imparta- 
tion of which the Urim and Thummim were connected, 
there is a singular propriety in the selection of the 
terms by which this mode of revelation was designated. 
They seem intended by way of hendiadys, to express 
the idea of the clearest or most 'perfect revelation. 
The decision was that of Jehovah, who could not 
deceive, and from whose decision, as the theocratic 
ruler of the Hebrews, there could be no appeal. The 
use of this oracle appears to have been confined to 
matters of importance, such as- those which affected 
the common interest of the nation ; on which account 
it was not consulted by the people generally, nor on 
ordinary occasions, but was resorted to by the monarch 

(1) bsTi"^ *'Ji\n n'rw b^- 


or persons in authority, in the absence of other means 
of determining what was the path of duty. 

On examining the different passages in which the 
use of the Urim and Thummim is referred to, there 
seems to be sufficient ground for the conclusion that, 
in whatever they may have consisted, the mode in 
which these intimations of the Divine will were 
obtained, consisted in an audible voice, which gave to 
the high priest, in brief but explicit terms, direct 
answers to the questions proposed. Moses, as the 
mediator of the old covenant had no successor. With 
him, as we had occasion formerly to observe, the pecu- 
liar privilege of direct and familiar converse with the 
Deity ceased. The only legitimate medium of ap- 
proach for divine direction afterwards was the high 
priest, and it was unlawful even for him to apply on 
behalf of any person except he were arrayed in his full 
pontifical dress, and under circumstances of great 
solemnity and awe. He was to take his station before 
the veil, which concealed the mercy-seat, where the 
Divine Presence resided. Thus an instruction was 
given respecting Joshua : " He shall stand before 
" Eleazar the priest, who shall ask counsel for him 
" after the judgment of Urim before the Lord : at his 
"■ word they shall go out, and at his word they shall 
" come in, both he, and all the children of Israel." 
(Num. xxvii. 21.) That Saul had been accustomed 
to receive responses in this way is manifest from the 
statement, 1 Sam. xxviii. 6, that on account of his 
disobedient conduct they were discontinued : " And 
" when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord answered 
" him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by 


" prophets." In no other passage is the use of this 
mode of obtaining oracular communications mentioned 
by name; but in the history of the judges and in that 
of David, it is described in language more or less 
indicative of its attendant circumstances. Those who 
availed themselves of it, are said to have asked the 
Lord ; to have gone up to the house of the Lord ; to 
have asked counsel of the Lord before the ark of the 
covenant of Grod ; and to have called for the ephod, 
and then inquired of the Lord. And as the inquiry 
was made verbally, it seems undeniable that the answer 
consisted in an audible verbal communication on the 
part of Jehovah. Hence the children of Israel in the 
matter of the Gibeonites are blamed for not asking 
counsel at " the mouth of the Lord," and in almost 
every instance, the response is introduced by the 
formula — "the Lord saidr To which we may add, 
that several of these responses are of some length, and 
comprise particulars which could only have been spe- 
cified by a direct communication. 

How long this mode of divine revelation lasted we 
are not informed. No mention is made of it after the 
time of Solomon, except in the books of Ezra and 
Nehemiah, where notice is taken of a decision of the 
governor, that those of the family of the priests who 
could not legally prove their genealogy, and were, as 
polluted or common men, put from the priesthood, 
should not eat of the most holy things, till there stood 
up a priest with Urim and Thunimim^ — language 
which plainly implies that it was not then in existence, 
though, as some suppose, it is equally expressive of an 

(1) Ezra ii. 63. Neh. vii. G5. 


expectation that it would be restored. Others, how- 
ever, are of opinion, that as Joshua, the high priest, 
already officiated, and might have been employed for 
consultation, just as Phinehas or Abiathar had formerly 
been, the reference in these passages is not to the 
Jewish pontiff, but to the Messiah, of whom he was 
an illustrious type. Though now excluded from all 
participation with their brethren in the rights and 
functions of the sacerdotal office, the time would come 
when all ceremonial distinctions should be abrogated 
by the introduction of the clear and perfect dispensa- 
tion of the gospel, and all the members of the church 
be on an equality with respect to the enjoyment of her 
immunities. This interpretation receives some degree 
of support from the declaration of Moses, recorded 
Deut. xxxiii. 8 : " And of Levi he said : 

•' Thy Thummim and thy Urim belong to thy Holy One, 
Whom thou temptedst at Massah, 
With whom thou contendedst at the water of Meribah." 

There is here a manifest reference to the honour con- 
ferred upon the tribe of Levi, by its having, in the 
person of the high priest, the exclusive right of ap- 
proach to God in matters of public concernment. It 
alone possessed the sacred symbols of Divine adjudica- 
tion. But though this was the case, these symbols 
had a higher reference. They more properly belonged, 
or had respect to Him, whose presence accompanied 
the Israelites in the wilderness, and whom, as it is 
expressly stated, they tempted at Massah. That the 
person referred to was Aaron cannot be admitted, 
since it is contrary to the usus loquendi of Scripture 
to employ the verb np3, here rendered tempt, in the 


sense of provoking any mere man. Besides, it does 
not appear that Aaron was specially the object of dis- 
pleasure on that occasion. The dissatisfaction was 
principally directed against Moses ; yet it is noAvhere 
said that they tempted him. This term he exclusively 
appropriates to the description of their conduct towards 
Jehovah : " And he called the name of the place 
" Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the 
" children of Israel, and because they tempted the 
" Lord, saying, Is the Lord among us or not?" 
(Exod. xvii. 7.) On consulting the New Testament, 
however, we learn that it was Christ against whom 
the children of Israel rebelled in the desert. 
"Neither," says the apostle, (1 Cor. x. 9,) "let us 
tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted him, and 
were destroyed of serpents."^ To him, therefore, 
appertained the Urim and Thummim. He was the 
true Light, who, coming into the world, enlighteneth 
every man ; the Apostle and High Priest of our pro- 
fession, by whose complete revelation we are now to 
abide, and whose decisions will ultimately fix our 
eternal condition. In this aspect of the subject, we 
may acquiesce in the conclusion of Calvin : " Neque 
etiam scire laboro, qualis fuerit utriusque effigies : res 
ipsa mihi sufficit." ^ 

Besides revealing his will in modes which had no 

(1) See Note I. 

(2) J. B Carpzov. Christiana de Urim et Thummim Conjectura. Ugolini 
Thesaur. xii. Nos 7, 8, 9, 10. And. Sennerti Dissert, de Urim et Thummim 
in Thesaur. Theo. Phil. torn. ii. p. 966. Schroeder de Urim et Thum. Stie- 
briz, Dissert, de Variis de Urim et Thummim Sentent. Witsius, ut sup. 
Braun. de Vestit. Sacerd. Heb. Lightfoot Opera, vol. i. p. 186. Prideaux, 
Connections, Part I. book iii. Schickard de jure Regio. cap. i. theor. 2. Jen- 
nings' Jewish Antiq. booki. chap. 5. Calmefs Diet. Art. Urim. 


respect to any peculiarity of circumstances in the con- 
dition of those to whom it was communicated, the 
Most High also employed certain phenomena in their 
personal history as the basis on which the communica- 
tions rested, or the medium through which they were 
made. Among these, dreams and visions occupy 
a prominent place in the sacred history. That such 
are recognised as modes of divine revelation is evident 
from the declaration of Jehovah to Aaron and Miriam : 
" If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will 
make myself known unto him in a vision, and will 
speak unto him in a dre./m..'^ (Num. xii. 6.) And 
that they were actually employed, and held in high 
estimation, is equally clear from the history of the first 
Hebrew monarch, of whom it is said : " When Saul 
" inquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, 
" neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor hy prophets." 
(1 Sam. xxviii. 6.) The withdrawment of the privilege 
he thus bitterly laments : " I am sore distressed ; for 
" the Philistines make war against me, and God is 
" departed from me, and answereth me no more, 
" neither by prophets, nor by dreams.'" (Ver. 15.) 
And so well known was the fact of these phenomena 
having been selected by God for the purpose of reveal- 
ing his mind, that in the days of Jeremiah it was 
common for the false prophets to pretend to them. 
Hence the protestation and appeal of the Lord : 
" I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy 
" lies in my name, saying, / have dreamed, I have 
" dreamed. How long shall this be in the heart of 
" the prophets, that prophesy lies ? yea, they are 
" prophets of the deceit of their own heart : which 


" think to cause my people to forget my name by their 
" di'eams, wliich they tell every man to his neighbour, 
" as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal. 
" The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; 
" and he that hath my word, let him speak my word 
" faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat ? saith 
" the Lord." (Jer. xxiii. 25—28.) The same thing 
is obviously implied in the promise of the renewal of 
supernatural communications under the Christian 
economy. " And it shall come to pass afterward, that 
" I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh : and your 
*' sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old 
" men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see 
'" visions'' (Joel ii. 28.) 

In few things were the ancients more unanimous 
than their belief in the importance to be attached to 
dreams. Their histories are full of them ; and some 
of their first philosophers specially treat of their 
prognostic character. Nor can this be matter of sur- 
prise when it is considered, that notwithstanding the 
innumerable instances in which dreams are nothing 
but the idlest vagaries of f\mcy, and involve the most 
whimsical and trifling absurdities, important antici- 
pations have sometimes occurred in them, the verifica- 
tion of which is beyond all reasonable doubt. Between 
dreams and subsequent events, there is occasionally 
a most remarkable coincidence. To persons unaccus- 
tomed to psychological investigations, and to those 
whose views of the connexion between matter and 
mind, and the operation and influence of the one upon 
the other, were only partially enlightened, such extra- 
ordinary coincidences presented themselves in tlie 


aspect of supernatural interpositions ; and every thing 
of the kind was viewed as indicative of the will of the 
gods.' In proportion, however, to the advance of 
science, and the augmentation of the number of well- 
attested matters of experience, light has been thrown 
on the subject of dreaming ; and though it belongs to 
a class of phenomena hitherto confessedly only partially 
developed, and from the invincible mysteriousness of 
the circumstances under which they happen, never to 
be fully explained, yet much of the obscurity in which 
it was involved has been removed. Observations have 
been collected and compared, and natural causes have 
been discovered, sufficient to account for effects which, 
in the absence of such knowledge, must have been 
ascribed to a higher source. In many instances, 
dreams are nothing but the resuscitation or revival of 
ideas, which have formerly occupied the mind. They 
may not be reimbodied precisely in the same elemental 
combinations ; on the contrary, they rather present 
themselves in all kinds of heterogeneous and incoherent 
associations ; but still, when distinctly recollected and 
subjected to a strict and careful analysis, such dreams 
may be clearly referred to previous circumstances in 
the history of the individual. Sometimes they are 
made up of a motley group, the component parts of 
which are collected from certain transactions in which 
he was engaged on the preceding day ; at other times 
they are connected with events which transpired at 
an earlier and even a remote period of life. The 

(1) nai yap t' ovap eK A«6| eVxii/.— Iliad, A.l. 63. Jamblich. de Myster. 

sect. iii. c. 3. Cicero de Divinatione, lib. i. c. 19. Aristotle and Isocrates, as 
quoted by Wetstein on Matt. i. 20. 


immediate link by which they are connected, or the 
operating cause of the reproduction, may seldom be 
discoverable ; but when, by the aid of memory, a com- 
parison has been instituted, no doubt is left on the 
mind respecting the relation in which the one stands 
to the other. 

It has been clearly ascertained that certain states 
or habits of the bodily constitution, certain organic 
disturbances, a change of situation or posture, and 
other external circumstances, which make impressions 
on the senses, not only exert an active influence on 
the production of dreams, but stamp a discriminative 
peculiarity of character on their phenomena. Some 
of these circumstances impart to them a vividness and 
distinctness which invest them with almost the reality 
of waking existence : others produce an obscurity in 
which the images are but dimly perceived. Some- 
times dreams are of the most pleasurable character ; 
at others, they are characterised by all that is horrific 
and appalling. How inimitably graphic the descrip- 
tion given of the latter class by Eliphaz : 

" To me a matter was secretly conveyed ; 
My ear perceived a whisper of it. 
Amid agitations from visions of the night, 
Wlien deep sleep falleth upon men, 
Fear came upon me and tremor ; 
The multitude of ray bones trembled ; 
A spirit passed before me ; 
The hair of my flesh stood on end. 
It stopped ; — but I could not discern its form ; 
A figure was before my eyes. 
There was silence : — then I heard a voice : 
' Shall man be just bef .re God ? 
' Shall man be pure before his Maker ?' " 

Our object in adverting to some of the phenomena 


of natural dreams is, to pave the way for the introduc- 
tion of the observations which we have to offer on 
such as were supernatural and divine. Those who 
have treated on the subject appear, for the most part, 
to have proceeded on the principle, that the dreams 
mentioned in Scripture had nothing in common with 
those which are attributable to mere natural causes ; 
and to have been of opinion that, being miraculous, it 
would derogate from their high and sacred claims to 
bring them in any way into comparison with manifes- 
tations which are purely the result of a morbid state 
of the brain. It cannot be denied, however, that, phy- 
siologically considered, they possess various palpable 
points of coincidence. Both classes are produced 
during sleep, when there is a cessation of the usual 
action of the sentient powers ; and, so far as the body 
is concerned, nothing is in operation except those 
organic processes which are essential to the existence 
of animal life. In both, the imagination is the prin- 
cipal faculty of the mind which is in an active state. 
They likewise agree in the sympathy frequently found 
to exist between the creations that are called forth, 
and the character, or external and mental circum- 
stances, of those who are the subjects of them. Those 
who had supernatural dreams were sometimes inca- 
pable of recollecting them when they awoke, just as 
it often happens in regard to such as are natural. Of 
these common features the last but one merits par- 
ticular attention. In the dream which Abraham had, 
when a deep sleep, and a horror of great darkness, fell 
upon him,^ the subject was one which had occupied 

(1) Gen. XV. 


his thoughts during the daj, — the posterity which 
God had promised him. That of Abimelech had re- 
spect to Sarah, whom he had taken to his palace.^ 
When Jacob had his dream between Beersheba and 
Haran,^ he was exposed to attacks from the banditti 
in the surrounding regions, and required the particular 
protection of Heaven. Those of the chief butler and 
the chief baker of Pharaoh^ had respect to their usual 
avocations. In that which Solomon had at Gibeon,* 
there was a palpable agreement between the subject 
of it and the previous state of his mind. It embodied 
the thoughts which arose from an anxious solicitude 
properly to discharge the duties of royalty, to which 
he had just been raised. 

From these and similar instances which occur in 
Scripture, taken in conjunction with other features, 
some of which have already been specified, we are 
warranted to conclude, that when Jehovah employed 
dreams as media through which to reveal his will or 
effect his purposes, he laid under contribution the ope- 
ration of ordinary causes, to the extent in which these 
causes were available, and only interposed his mira- 
culous agency in the degree in which it was absolutely 
requisite. He made use of the instrumentality of sleep, 
the various affections of the physical constitution, the 
action of the faculty of imagination upon that of 
memory for the reproduction of previous ideas ; and, 
when the mind was exactly in that state of natural 
preparation which was necessary for the reception of 
the supernatural communication, or the superaddition 

(1) Gen. XX. (2) Ibid, xxviii. 

(3) Ibid. xl. (4) 1 Kings iii. 


of certain ideas or images, which could not have been 
produced in an ordinary way, such celestial inter- 
vention took place. 

The characteristics of the supernatural in the divine 
dreams recorded in the Bible, are, in most cases, suffi- 
ciently obvious. They involve some circumstance or 
other which it lay entirely beyond the sphere of natural 
causation to produce. The specification of four hun- 
dred years as the period during which the posterity of 
Abraham were to be in circumstances of depression ; 
the number three in reference both to the branches 
and the baskets in the case of Pharaoh's servants ; 
that of seven in the dreams of the ears and the kine ; 
and the characters and arrangement of the symhols in 
the dreams of Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel, are points 
of coincidence which no fragments of thought, how- 
ever curiously combined, and no power of imagina- 
tion, simply left to its own influence, could possibly 
have brought out. 

Supernatural dreams are of two kinds: the Moni- 
tory, and the Symbolical. In Monitory dreams, distinct 
communications were made directly to the intellect of 
those who were the subjects of them, which carried 
with them such definite and unequivocal marks of a 
divine origin, that they were impelled instantly, and 
without the least degree of hesitation, to comply with 
them. Of this description were those of Abimelech 
and Joseph, already referred to ; that of Laban, (Gen. 
xxxi. 24 ;) and that of the Magi recorded in Matt, 
ii. 12. In such instances, it does not appear that the 
imagination was employed further than was necessary 
to present those ideas which were connected with the 


subjects of Divine communication, and which formed, 
as it were, the substratum of the information imparted 
from above. These intimations of the Divine will had 
respect to some immediate point of duty, and were 
accordingly couched in language the most simple, 
direct, and intelligible. SymhoUcal dreams, on the 
contrary, were emblematical and mysterious ; being 
composed of images taken, for the most part, from 
natural objects, but also at times of those which were 
monstrous and unnatural in their character. Of the 
former description of symbols are the sheaves in the 
first of Joseph's dreams, and the sun, moon, and 
eleven stars, in the second; and the vine, with its 
branches, buds, blossoms, and grapes, the cup and the 
wine, in that of Pharaoh's chief butler. Of the latter, 
the colossal image of Nebuchadnezzar is an appropriate 

Certain symbolical dreams were of easy interpreta- 
tion. In the case of Jacob's ladder, as nothing further 
was intended to be conveyed by it than an assurance of 
the connexion constantly maintained between heaven 
and earth by the operations of Divine Providence 
carried on through the instrumentality of angels,^ the 

(1) It has been commonly supposed that Jacob's ladder -was a type of 
Christ; but the supposition is not based on any solid scriptural foundation. 
The only passage which exhibits a shadow of reference to the Old Testament 
narrative is John i. 51, in which it is said, that the angels were to be seen, 
ascending and descending, tTri, upon the Son of Man. What consistent in- 
terpretation can be put upon the phraseology as rendered in our common 
version, it is impos^ible to divine. Every attempt whicli has been made to 
throw light upon it has only rendered the darkness more visible. Tbe prepo- 
sition in such connexion must be taken in the sense of with, in the presence of, 
like the Heb. by, and is accordingly rendered Zo^, apud, in the Syriac 
version. The whole phrase is expressive of attendance upon, with a view to 


patriarch required no interpretation of it. In like 
manner, the significance of those which Joseph related 
to his brethren was so palpable, that they at once 
understood how they were intended to apply. It was 
very difierent, however, with respect to the dream of 
the Babylonian monarch. How familiar soever he 
might be with the different parts of the image, or the 
additional symbols of the stone and the mountain, the 
whole assemblage was such, that it was as far beyond 
the reach of human penetration to discover its real 
meaning as it was to declare wherein the dream itself 
consisted. The successive order and appropriate 
minute characteristics of the four great monarchies of 
Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome ; and the super- 
natural origin and all-subduing energies of the king- 
dom of Christ, were points which He alone could 
disclose who " revealeth the deep and secret things, 
who knoweth what is in darkness, and with whom 
dwelleth the light." (Dan. ii. 22.) 

That the high and holy God should have revealed 
himself in this manner to idolaters, who paid a super- 
stitious regard to dreams and employed the science of 
oneirocritics in subserviency to the interests of heathen 
worship, may present a difficulty to some minds ; but 
when it is recollected that all the instances recorded 
in Scripture had an important bearing on the con- 
service. See, for the fulfilment of our Lord's declaration, Luke xxii. 43 ; 
Acts i. 10, 11. Comp. Ps. Ixviii. 17, 18 ; 2 Thess. i. 7. Thus Clarius : h. e. 
" in ejus ministerium, ut in Resurrectione ejus, et Ascensione factum est ;" 
and still better Zegerus : " Hoc adimpletum est dum apparentibus Angelis 
visus est subvehi in coelum : sed et manifestius adimplebitur cum venerit 
Filius hominis in majestate sua, et omnes Angeli ejus cum eo, judicaturum 
vivos et mortuos." 


dition of the church, which was destined to witness 
for the exclusive claims of Jehovah, and against every 
species of superstition ; and that they had the most 
direct tendency to convince the pagan world of the 
futility of human skill in its pretended attempts to 
penetrate into the arcana of the Divine purposes, as 
well as to draw its attention to the servants of the true 
God, and the revelations of his will, which were in 
their possession — they cannot but appear highly con- 
gruous, and worthy of sacred veneration. 

Intimately connected with the subject of dreams is 
that of prophetic visions, which we find distinctly re- 
cognised in many parts of Scripture. So close, in 
fact, is this connexion, that the one species of reve- 
lation occasionally merges in the other. Thus, in the 
case of Abraham, recorded Gen. xv., the Divine com- 
munications first took place in a vision ; but after- 
wards, at sun-set, they continued to be made, when a 
deep sleep, and a horror of great darkness, fell upon 
him. It is on the same principle we are to account 
for the circumstance, that both were combined in that 
described by Daniel, (vii. 1, 2,) where we read : 
" Daniel had a dream, and visions of his head upon 
his bed : then he wrote the dream, and told the sum 
of the matters." From the term nnn-in , employed to 
designate the kind of sleep with which such night 
visions were connected, it is evident it was more pro- 
found than usual, amounting, there is reason to believe, 
to an almost entire suspension of the functions proper 
to the nervous system. The same word is used to 
describe the state into which Adam was thrown pre- 
paratory to the creation of Eve, during which his 


senses were so completely locked up that he had no 
susceptibility of pain from the operation. The LXX. 
have translated it, as occurring on such occasions, by 
£k-fTra(Tig, or trance, in which the mind is, as it were, 
removed from the body, or, at least, placed beyond the 
consciousness of any immediate influence of the cor- 
poreal world. In such a state it is so completely 
absorbed with the images impressed upon the ima- 
gination, that it not only regards them as realities, 
but conducts itself towards them as actual matters of 

Between divine dreams and divine visions generally 
there appears to exist this radical distinction, that the 
former necessarily took place in a state of somnolency, 
and were connected with brainular affections ; while 
the latter, though sometimes physiologically originating 
in such a condition, did not exclude the healthy exer- 
cise of the mental faculties, and were granted in the 
waking state. In dreams there was a resuscitation of 
former ideas, more or less influenced by the condition 
of the cerebral organ : in visions, the mind was raised 
entirely above the influence of material impressions 
and former reminiscences, and had all its energies 
concentrated in Ihe intense contemplation of the super- 
natural objects directly presented to its view. It is 
manifestly to such a state the Apostle Paul refers, 
when he writes, (2 Cor. xii. 1 — 4,) " It is not expe- 
" dient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to 
" visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man 
" in Christ about fourteen years ago, (whether in the 
" body, I cannot tell ; or whether out of the body, 
" I cannot tell : God knoweth ;) such an one caught 


" up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, 
" (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot 
" tell : God knoweth;) how that he was caught up into 
" paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is 
" not lawful for a man to utter." He was so impressed 
with the ineffably sublime subjects which engrossed 
his mind, that he had no consciousness whatever of 
external or material objects, and was not able after- 
wards to determine whether his soul was for the time 
actually disembodied, or whether his body accompanied 
it to the exalted regions of the invisible world. The 
condition of the persons thus inspired is likewise 
strikingly described by Balaam, Num. xxiv. 3, 4, and 

" The oracle of Balaam the son of Beor ; 
The oracle of the man whose eye is unclosed ; 
The oracle of him who heareth the words of God ; 
Who seeth the visions of the Almighty ; 
Entranced, with his eyes unveiled." 

Most of the terms employed to designate this species 
of inspiration are otherwise appropriated to the sense 
of sight, and because the prophets were so frequently 
favoured with it, they obtained the name of □'«"), wm, 
seers. The principle on which the metaphorical use 
rests is, the clear and satisfactory nature of the evidence 
which is acquired through the medium of bodily vision. 
What the presentation of material objects is to the 
eye, that the supernatural presentation of invisible 
objects is to the mind. Both are impressive, distinct, 
and convincing. In the visions of the prophets, the 
objects brought before them were invested with a 
peculiarity of character which rendered it impossible 
to mistake their origin. Rapt in this state of holy 


entrancement, the favoured seers had opened to their 
mental view every region of the visible and invisible 
worlds ; and so powerfully were they impressed at 
times by the overwhelming glory, or the amazing and 
painful aspect of their visions, that they required to 
be strengthened and animated, in order to be capaci- 
tated to sustain further disclosures. Thus Daniel 
informs us, (chap. x. 15 — 19,) "And when he had 
" spoken such words unto me, I set my face toward 
" the ground, and I became dumb. And, behold, one 
" like the similitude of the sons of men touched my 
" lips : then I opened my mouth, and spake, and said 
" unto him that stood before me, my lord, by the 
" vision my sorrows are turned upon me, and I have 
" retained no strength. For how can the servant of 
" this my lord talk with this my lord ? for as for me, 
" straightway there remained no strength in me, 
" neither is there breath left in me. Then there came 
" again and touched me one like the appearance of 
" a man, and he strengthened me, and said, O man 
" greatly beloved, fear not : peace be unto thee ; be 
" strong, yea, be strong. And when he had spoken 
" unto me, I was strengthened, and said, Let my lord 
" speak ; for thou hast strengthened me." 

It was maintained, as we have already seen, by 
Philo, and the position has recently been again ad- 
vanced by Henstenburg, in his Christology of the 
Old Testament,^ that, during the continuance of their 
visions, a complete cessation of intelligent consciousness 
took place in the experience of the prophets ; and their 
individual agency being suppressed by the powerful 

(1) See Note K. 


operation of the Divine SiDirit, they were reduced to 
a state of entire passiveness, and the absence of all 
reflection. But the theory is not only totally irrecon- 
cilable with all that we conceive to be essential to the 
existence of the soul, but is destitute of support from 
the phenomena detailed by the prophets themselves. 
It is evidently to be traced to the influence of Platonic 
ideas, and a misinterpretation of those passages of 
Scripture in which the overwhelming effects of pro- 
phetic vision upon the body are described with great 
force of expression. On perusing these descriptions, 
as well as the prophecies generally, it is abundantly 
obvious that the chosen recipients of Divine revelations 
were conscious of the objects which passed in succes- 
sion before their view ; that they apprehended them, 
and discriminated them from each other ; that they 
reasoned and proposed questions concerning them; 
and that, though they could not i3enetrate the obscurity, 
which, from various causes, must have enveloped 
many parts of the scenery, they nevertheless had 
intelligent conceptions of the general bearing and 
design of the whole. On no point are the Fathers 
more unanimous than in the opinion that the minds of 
the prophets were in a sound and active state during 
the continuance of their visions — an opinion which 
many of them were called upon distinctly to avow, in 
opposition at once to the ravings of the Montanists, 
and the wild impulses of the pagan priests, i 

(1) The following extract from Basil maybe regarded as embodying the 
views of the Fathers upon the subject :—^aa-i St rtvis tfeo-TiiKora? avTov^ 
irpo(priTevetv, kntKaXviTTOfievov rov avOpwireivou vov irapct rov Trvevnaro^. 
TouTO 3e wapa t»ji/ e7raY76\iav earl T>ir 0eia^ fc7r(5r)jujay, eK<ppova noielv tow 
0e6\r]wrov, Kai ore nKijpr}^ yi'^fove tSw Beiwv dtdayfxdnav, rare Kal rrii oiKe/ar 


From the very nature of prophetic visions, it is 
evident that the images presented in them were not 
real objects, but merely symbols or hieroglyphics, the 
ascertained antitypes of which constitute the true 
meaning. Predominating as they did in the history of 
that inspiration which the holy men of God enjoyed, 
these images have necessarily invested their writings 
with a large portion of emblematical instruction. 
Indeed, so deep were the impressions which they pro- 
duced upon their minds, that the language of those 
parts of their predictions, which are, strictly speaking, 
free from scenic representations, are exuberantly 
charged with terms and combinations of the same 
figurative import. Of all the sacred writers, none 
received more revelations of this description than 
Ezekiel, Daniel, Zechariah, and John, in whose pro- 
phecies symbolical imagery of the most magnificent 
and comprehensive, and, at the same time, most appro- 
priate, description abounds. All nature was laid under 
contribution to furnish types of invisible realities. 
The heavens, the earth, and the waters — the sun, 
moon, and stars — mountains, islands, forests, trees, 
deserts, rivers, fountains — winds, fire, thunder, light- 
ning, hail, smoke, earthquakes, inundations — cities, 

e^KTTaaOai diavoiaj, Kal ciXXou? /xei/ wcpeXovvTa 6t' eavrov, avrov de tJi? e/c twv 
i6io}v \6yu)v cLTToXelnecrOai w^eXeias. "OXtur 6e riva Xoyov ukoXovOov exe<, 
«•(£ Tov rTis aocpiai nveviJiaTOi jjiefxrivuTt -izafiairXijaiov yivecOai Kal €k tov T»jr 
-/vuxreuii nvevfiaros to irapaKaXovOriTiKoii ano/SdXXeiv. 'AXX' ovre to ^lur 
TU^XoTjjTa kfinoiei, uXXa rrjv ck <pvaea>9 evvTrdpxooaav opartKijv duvafxiv 
dteyelpei' ovre to TrveS/xa trKoraaiv hjJiiroieX Talr >|>i;xai^f,' aXXa Trpor t>/i/ twv 
vor\Tu>v Bewpiav tov utto t5v Trjf a/jLapTias KrtXidwv KaOapevovTa vovv 6cavi~ 
aTtiorei. Ilovfipav )uev oiiv bvvafiiv av^xv^turiv eivat Siavoia^, kirt/3ovXeveva-aif 
Tj7 avOpconivri <pva-ei, ovK dwiOavov' GEIOY AE IINEYMATOS IIAPOYSIAN 

TAYTO TOYTO AEFEIN ENEPFEIN, A2EBE2.— Comment, in Isaiam, vol. i. 
p. 806. Paris, 1618. 


temples, houses, thrones — ships, animals, minerals, 
and an immense number of other objects form the 
assemblage of external images which the Holj Spirit 
rendered available for the communication of prophetic 
truth, at seasons when those whom he inspired were 
placed in a state of complete disseverance from all 
sensible contact with their prototypes. Selections 
were made from them, adapted to the subjects to be 
revealed. They were grouped together, arranged and 
disposed of so as most effectually to correspond with 
the development of the Divine purposes. In this 
condition of ecstatic inspiration, (fV EKaraaei, iv ttvev- 
fiari yiveaQai, Acts X. 10 ; Rev. i. 10; iv. 2,) the pro- 
phets beheld the Deity himself, (Isa. vi. 1 ; Dan. vii. 13,) 
with whom, and with angelic spirits, they conversed, 
and received direct information respecting many of 
the things contained in their visions. From the 
books of Zechariah and Daniel, and from the Apoca- 
lypse, it appears that, besides manifestations of the 
Angel of Jehovah, or the Lord Christ himself, they 
had the ministry of a created angel specially accorded 
to them, in order to furnish them with a knowledge of 
the symbols, and otherwise reveal to them the will 
of God. 

Tliere is one other mode by which God was pleased 
to make supernatural communications to man, which 
claims to be noticed before we pass on to the remain- 
ing divisions of our subject, and which, though the 
most seldom in use, has attracted a greater degree of 
attention, and occasioned a wider diversity of opinion, 
than some of the higher and more important methods 


of revelation. We refer to the reappearance of 
THE DEAD. From the deceptive and superstitious 
character of the numerous accounts which are still 
widely circulated respecting apparitions of spirits, 
combined with the impressions produced by the illu- 
sions of necromancy recorded in ancient history, a 
strong degree of mental revulsion has arisen in refer- 
ence to the literal interpretation of the only passage of 
Scripture which contains an account of any such 
appearance.^ It is that which relates to the scene at 
Endor, to which place Saul had repaired in order to 
obtain, by means of the nefarious and strictly inter- 
dicted art of witchcraft, that information respecting 
the future which Jehovah had refused any longer to 
communicate to him. (1 Sam. xxviii.) The enchantress 
to whom the monarch applied to call up Samuel from 
the dead, after some importunity, proceeded to comply 
with his request; but ere she had time to apply her 
necromantic art, Samuel appeared ; she shrieked with 
terror ; detected Saul in the person of her applicant ; 
and, after answering his question respecting the form 
of the apparition, left the king and the resuscitated 
prophet to continue the solemn interview. Having 

(1) Other instances occur of the reanimation or appearance of the departed, 
as in the case of the man who was being interred in the sepulchre of Elisha, 
(2 Kings xiii. 21); in that of Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory on the 
mount of Transfiguration, (Luke ix. 30, 31) ; that of Lazarus, (Johnxi.); 
and that of the saints who rose when the rocks were rent and the graves 
opened at our Lord's death, (Matt, xxvii. 53) : but none of them appear to 
have taken jilace for the purpose of making definite disclosures or proper 
revelations of the Divine will to those Mho witnessed them. That such were 
to be expected with this view, is strongly negatived by the declaration — 
"If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither wDl they be persuaded 
though (fccii/, even if, putting the case hypothetically) one rose from the dead." 
(Luke xvi. 31.) 


expostulated with him for disturbing the peaceful 
sleep of the grave, and heard his unsatisfactory reply, 
Samuel announced to Saul the confirmation of his 
rejection by Jehovah, and the certainty of his speedy 
death and that of his sons, together with the victory of 
the Philistines over Israel. This is in substance what 
is contained in the sacred narrative. The principal 
questions that have been started in reference to it are 
these : Did Samuel actually appear ? Or was it merely 
a spectral illusion, a juggling trick on the part of the 
woman, or Satan himself personifying the prophet ? 
If Samuel did appear, was it at the call of the woman ? 
Was it by the exertion of demoniacal influence? or 
was it by the intervention of Divine power ? That 
a direct negative must be given to each of these 
queries, except the first and last, appears to be the 
only conclusion at which we can arrive consistently 
with the analogy of Scripture doctrine, and the inte- 
grity of Scripture interpretation. To attempt a refu- 
tation of the hypotheses which have been constructed 
against the real appearance of the prophet, would 
occupy more time than can be appropriated to it on 
the present occasion. Sufiice it to say that the whole 
strain of the narrative is opposed to the idea of any 
present deception on the part of the woman ; that for 
one to be invested with the ability to work a miracle, 
who, with her companions in guilt, had been most 
solemnly execrated on account of their diabolical prac- 
tices, is contrary to the first principles of the Jewish 
theocracy, as it is at variance with every correct notion 
of the lioly character of the Universal Governor ; 
that it was not in the power of the female or of any 


demon to predict not merely the defeat of the Israelites, 
but the death both of Saul and his sons on the follow- 
ing day ; and that, as Satan could have had no end to 
serve by a scene of such a character, it would be 
absurd to ascribe it to his influence. 

On the other hand, that Samuel actually appeared, 
and consequently that his appearance was the result 
of Divine interposition, is as much a matter of simple 
historical fact as any recorded in the book of God. 
Not less than five times is it expressly stated in the 
narrative, that it was Samuel. The woman saw that 
it was Samuel, (ver. 12) ; " Saul perceived that it was 
Samuel^'' (ver. 14) ; '' Samuel said unto Saul," (ver. 15); 
"then said Samuel,'^ (ver. 18); Saul "was sore afraid 
because of the words of Samuel" (ver. 20). In this 
view of the case, are we not warranted to ask and to 
assert with Origen, " Who is the person that here 
" speaks ? Is it the Holy Spirit, by whom we believe 
" the Scriptures to have been indited, or is it some 
" other person ? It is unquestionably the author of 
" the history who speaks throughout, as the whole 
" tenor of the discourse shows. But the proper author 
" of the discourse is not man, but the Holy Spirit, by 
" whom the penmen were moved to write." ' The 
authority on which the statement rests is the same on 
which we receive other statements of Scripture. The 
passage is not introduced as containing an account 

(1) Tti/09 TTpoo-wTToi' tcTTi TO \e70v, ecTTev >/ yvi't). 'Apa rov Trpocconov rov 
ajlov TTvei/juaros', 6? tov ■KenicrTevTui dva'^e'ypdcpOat tj 'Ypa<pi], Jj npuaooTrov 
aWov Tivos ; TO yap dinyriidartKov Trpoaooirov navTaxov, wr 'icracri Kai o't nep'i 
navTodmrovs yevo/jLevot Xoyov?, eari irpoa-coirov tov (rvyypacpeu?' <7vyypa<peui 
66 enl TOVTWV twv Xuyuiv ireTzicrrevrai, ovk avOpcoTro^, aXAtt irvyypatpev^ tu 
irvevixa to uyiov to Kivriaav tous- dvflpwrrov^. — Comment, in Libb. Regiim. 


given by some uninspired person ; but as a continuation 
of the sacred history, and perfectly tallies with the 
preceding and following context. The rejection of its 
obvious import can only be effected at the hazard of 
unsettling the entire basis of divinely inspired narrative.^ 
Viewing this transaction, then, as real and not 
imaginary, and as having been effected by the power 
of God, it is natural to inquire — What were the ends 
it was designed to answer ? and what was the character 
of the communications which the prophet was sent to 
deliver? To these questions it may be replied, that 
one of its most obvious designs was to teach the futility 
of expecting any satisfactory information from the 
invisible world to compensate for the righteous with- 
drawment of the appointed means of supernatural 
instruction. Saul had not complied with the intima- 
tions of the Divine will which he had already received, 
on which account God answered him no more, " neither 
by prophets, nor by dreams." His application to 
Samuel was now equally unsuccessfuL He received 
nothing beyond a repetition of what that prophet had 
announced to him on a former occasion respecting the 
alienation of the crown, if we except the prediction of 
the defeat which was to take place the following day, 
and the death of himself and his sons, which is rather, 
however, to be regarded as part of the punishment 
inflicted upon him, than as a boon resulting from pro- 

(1) The contrary hypothesis, that the whole scene was purely of a necro- 
mantic character, and that there was no real appearance of Samuel, has been 
argued at great length, and with much ability, by my esteemed friend the 
Rev. Walter Scott, in the Ninth Series of the Congregational Lecture, 
pp. 532—546 ; but while I feel the force of some of his arguments, I cannot 
persuade myself to merge the repeated positive averments of the Sacred 
Writer in merely popular and unphilosophical language.— Note to 2d Ed. 


plietic revelation. A subordinate end to be answered 
by the event was, a more complete exposure of gross 
superstition and imposture. "While engaged in the 
wicked attempt to practise upon the credulity of the 
infatuated monarch, the female necromancer is sud- 
denly arrested and confounded by the actual appear- 
ance of the venerable servant of Jehovah, the mani- 
festation of whose omnipotent power she was compelled 
to acknowledge.^ The publication of the whole trans- 
action had a powerful tendency to check the propensity 
which existed to apply to the dead for a disclosure of 
the secrets of the unseen world.^ 

The Jews have generally supposed that, on the 
cessation of ancient prophecy, a new mode of revelation 
was employed, to which they give the name of ^ip m, 

(2) It is possible that some 's\ho read these Lectures may have expected 
that notice would be taken cf the letter which is said (2 Chron. xxi. 12,) to 
have come to Jehoram from Elijah the prophet : it being apparently the stnse 
of the passage, that the missive came directly, at the time specified, which is 
generally supposed to have happened several years after his death. According 
to this interpretation the communication was transmitted from the invisible 
world, which Grotius believes to have been the case, though Ephraem Syrus 
had declared that those who dwell on the earth receive no epistles from the 
inhabitants of heaven. That Elijah the Tishbite is intended, and nut another 
of the same name, as Cajetan conjectured, is beyond dispute ; but the Hebrew 
text, ^'21^ 'in;';^?^ 3n3^ V?« i^i;-;, dots not necessarily imply that the 
letter Avas written by the prophet at the time of its delivery. Tne preposi.ion 
O, connects with 3Ppo., a writing, more readily than with the verb S2, and 
refers it to Elijah as its author : so that it may have been composed years 
before it reached the hands of the wicked iiionarch whom it was designed to 
reprove. According to the test chronological computation, Jehoram must 
have already been grown up before the venerable servant of God ascended to 
heaven ; and furnishing awfulevidenceofabandonment of character, it pleased 
the prophetic Spirit to cictate tlie contents of the present commimication, 
which, Emmanuel a Sa has suggested, was in all probability delive.ed to 
Elisiia or some other person to be conveyed to the king, at a particular junc- 
ture, when it might be expected to operate more powerfully upon his mind. 


BATH-KOL, or " the daughter of the voice." Such of 
them, however, as use the phrase in this sense, ascribe 
to it a degree of importance which elevates the com- 
munications made by it above those made by what 
they call the ^ipn mi, or the supernatural influence 
enjoyed by such as were not prophets according to the 
strict meaning of the term, but yet truly inspired. 
They make it to consist in a miraculous voice proceed- 
ing immediately from heaven, and imparting in intel- 
ligible language the knowledge of the Divine will. 
Yet the instances which they adduce to prove that it 
took place are so trifling and so completely Talmudic 
in their character, as at once to evince its total dis- 
crepancy from any thing justly claiming to be divine. 
It would seem, from statements made by some of the 
Eabbins, that the Bath-kol was in reality nothing but 
an extraordinary noise, or sound, which, from the 
peculiarity of the circumstances in which it was heard, 
might be construed into a good or bad omen, or a 
communication simply of portentous import. The 
word bip, Kol, being one of those by which thunder is 
expressed in Hebrew, it has not improbably been 
inferred, that, by prefixing to it the word n3, Bath, or 
Daughter, the Jews originally meant to express the 
idea of the echo or repercussion which follows a clap 
of thunder. Thus, indeed, it is expressly defined in 
the Codex Sanhedrim ; " Bath-kol is when a sound 
j)roceeds from heaven, and another sound proceeds 
from it." ^ To such reverberations or distant sounds 

(1) :"in« "jip pinn xb^ wiy^n "p vrnrt "rp ci^miu vrr Kb-oj DniDi« ■^ 

— Piske Josaphoth, fol. 11, a. 

And again : ; in« bip i3"irra «:jv D'OMH p k::^v biptJD i:"n Vp nn-— 

fol. 29, b. 


they were accustomed to attach a monitory significance ; 
and so far did they carry the superstition, that, at 
length, any words which they might accidentally hear 
repeated when they were intent on ascertaining a par- 
ticular fact, they viewed in the light of a supernatural 
intimation, or a sacred oracle, to whose import they 
were bound to attend. 

The application of any of the notions connected 
with the Bath-kol of the Jews to the elucidation of 
the New Testament, is greatly to be reprobated. 
Between such notions and any of the facts narrated in 
that portion of the sacred volume, there exists not the 
slightest degree of congruity. Since the use of the 
phrase cannot be traced further back than an age con- 
siderably posterior to that of the apostles, we have no 
reason whatever to conclude that it was customary in 
their day thus to designate an articulate voice from 



1 COR. XII. 4 — 6. 

" Now there are diversities of gifts, hut the same Spirit. 
And there are differences of administrations, hut the 
same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, 
hut it is the same God which worketh all in alV^ 

That a more copious effusion of Divine influence, 
both in its extraordinary and ordinary features, was 
to take place in the time of the Messiah, is a fact, 
with which the ancient church was distinctly made 
acquainted. Not to insist on the address in Psalm 
Ixviii. 18, — " Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast 
" led captivity captive : thou hast received gifts for 
" men ; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord 
" God might dwell among them ;" which words Paul 
applies to the royal donative of the Spirit, (Eph. 
iv. 8,)— we find a direct prophecy in reference to the 
subject, Joel ii. 28, 29 : " And it shall come pass 
" afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all 
" flesh ; and your sons and your daughters shall pro- 
" phesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young 


" men shall see visions : and also upon the servants 
" and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour 
" out my Spirit." Of the direct bearing of this pre- 
diction on the miraculous communication of spiritual 
gifts on the day of Pentecost, no one can doubt who 
peruses the narrative contained in the second chapter 
of the Acts, in which is recorded the inspired appli- 
cation of it by Peter to the unprecedented occurrences 
which took place on that remarkable occasion. 

To the accomplishment of these prophetic decla- 
rations, our Lord obviously refers his disciples, when 
he gives to this effusion of extraordinary spiritual in- 
fluence the name of baptism. " Wait," he said, " for 
" the promise of the Father, which ye have heard of 
" me ; for John truly baptized with water ; but ye 
" shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many 
" days hence." (Acts i. 5.) As we shall afterwards 
have an opportunity of shewing, the specific repetition 
of the promise by Christ in his last discourse before 
his sufferings, to which he here adverts, was intended 
to remove from the minds of the eleven every doubt 
with which they might be harassed respecting their 
native disqualification for the execution of the arduous 
task which was soon to be devolved upon them. On 
the advent of the Spirit of Truth they were to receive 
those extraordinary endowments by which they should 
be fully prepared to carry into effect their high com- 
mission. And we find, accordingly, both in the his- 
tory of the Pentecostal phenomena to which reference 
has just been made, and in that of the other super- 
natural events which distinguished the ministry of the 
apostles, a profusion of proofs attesting the reaUzation 


by the church of the predicted and promised blessing. 
Not only were these primary and extraordinary mini- 
sters of Christ richly endowed with miraculous gifts 
themselves ; they were also honoured instrumentally 
to communicate them more or less copiously to the 
first converts, who thus became qualified to perform 
those extraordinary services which the peculiar cir- 
cumstances of the infant church required. This im- 
partation generally took place during the preaching of 
the w^ord, or on the baptism of the parties who were 
thus favoured ; and appears to have consisted in an 
immediate exertion of Divine power attending the 
preaching of the gospel, or in answer to the jprayer 
w^iich accompanied the imposition of the apostles' 
hands, (Acts viii. 15, 17 ; xix. 6.) 

To the enjoyment and exercise of these supernatural 
powers by certain members of the first Christian com- 
munities, numerous references are made in the apo- 
stolical epistles, but in none more amply than in that 
from which our present text has been selected. In 
the city of Corinth, the capital of Achaia, celebrated 
on account of its opulence and learning, as it was 
notorious for its effeminacy and profligacy of manners, 
the Apostle Paul preached the gospel wdth such effect, 
that a considerable number of Jews, proselytes, and 
heathens, were led to profess the faith of Christ, and 
unite together for the purpose of observing the rules 
of the Christian fellowship, in obedience to the will of 
their common Lord. In the course of a few years, 
however, besides other evils which sprang up to dis- 
turb the peace and obstruct the spiritual progress of 
the brethren, a jealousy of each other's gifts existed 



on the part of some who had been made partakers of 
the extraordinary endowments of the Spirit, which 
produced an unhappy collision in the church generally, 
and not only led to the splitting of the body into sepa- 
rate parties, but exhibited to the view of unbelievers, 
who happened to visit their assemblies, scenes which 
were powerfully calculated to strengthen their natural 
prejudices against the gospel. In reply to an appli- 
cation, which they had agreed to make for apostolic 
advice, the inspired master-builder, by whom the 
foundation of the Christian edifice had been laid in 
that city, proceeds in this and the two following 
chapters of his first Epistle to discuss the subject of 
spiritual gifts, with respect to their origin, their 
nature, their comparative value, and their appropriate 
and legitimate use ; and in the course of the instruc- 
tions which he imparts on these several topics, takes 
occasion specially to enlarge on the gift of tongues, 
which, more than any of the others, appears to have 
occasioned a spirit of pride and contention. 

As the term TrvevfxariKuir, ver. 1, is elliptical, some 
commentators supply avdpcjTrojv, and render it " spiri- 
tual 7ne?i ;" viz. such as were gifted with supernatural 
endowments, — especially those who had the gift of 
tongues ; others prefer 'x^apKTfj.drojy, " spiritual gifts," 
of which that just mentioned was held in the highest 
estimation. It is immaterial which mode of construc- 
tion we adopt : only it is more in accordance with the 
apostle's general use of the word, to understand him 
as referring to things rather than to persons. In 
opening the subject, he most appositely reminds the 
Corinthians of the fact, that, before those of them who 


had been pagans had embraced the gospel, they had 
been urged on by a blind infatuation to serve idols, 
which, being themselves inanimate and speechless, 
could not possibly impart to their votaries any thing 
analogous to the miraculous gift of language, which 
had so greatly attracted their attention. He next lays 
it down as a principle, particularly to be borne in mind 
by those who had been Jews, and might still be ex- 
posed to the influence of Jewish impostors pretending 
to be actuated by the Holy Spirit, that no person 
who spoke by the inspiration of that Divine Agent 
could blaspheme the Redeemer, — just as it was equally 
certain, that no one could sincerely profess belief in his 
divine character and mission, except in virtue of his 
supernatural influence. 

Having thus entered upon his subject, the apostle 
proceeds to shew, that how various soever were the 
supernatural gifts bestowed on the first Christians, 
they were all to be traced to the Holy Spirit as their 
common source. In the fourth and fifth verses he 
extends the idea of diversit}^ so as to make it compre- 
liend all the modes in which the gifts were employed, 
and all the results which followed their exercise, in 
order the more forcibly to exhibit the unity which 
pervades the whole of the Divine administration. It 
has been supposed by some, that, in the beautiful 
synthetical climax which he thus forms, the words 
yripia^aTa, diuKoyiai, and EyEpy{j/.iu-a, are synonymous. 
The opinion is not new, being found in Chrysostom^ 

(1) Ti''(-a-Tiv ev(-pyt)iJia ; t/ 3e x"P«''''M<^ > t/ 56 diaKovia; Ovo/jLCtTaiv fiia^opai 
Hovov, fTreJ irpdyiJiara ra avTci. 'O fap iffji xap'O'/uia, rovro 6taKovia, toiito 
Kai evipyeiav \tyei. 


and other Greek commentators, but it is quite a gra- 
tuitous assumption ; for though they all designate 
what the apostle describes as belonging to the subject 
of which he is treating, they nevertheless mark its 
several parts with sufficient distinctness to authorize 
their separate consideration. With respect to the 
Xapto-/xara there can be no dispute: they manifestly 
signify the miraculous endowments conferred by the 
Spirit on certain individuals, for the purpose of quali- 
fying them for -the performance of extraordinary ser- 
vices in the cause of Christ. By the diuKoviai are 
meant the different forms in which these endowments 
were exercised, the functions by which they were 
called into operation, or the services engaged in by 
those who possessed them. The Ivepyi^fxara were the 
actual effects which resulted from the application of 
the various supernatural powers or gifts in the modes 
specified ; and are so called in reference to the Divine 
energy by which they were produced.^ The term 
" operation," which is employed in our common ver- 
sion, is ambiguous. It may either signify the agency, 
influence, or act exerted with a view to the produc- 
tion of effects, or the result of such agency in the 
effects themselves. Though the translators appear to 
have understood it in the former of these significations, 
the latter is its only legitimate acceptation in the pre- 
sent connexion. This construction of the passage is 
found in Theodoret ; only he refers it to the xcipia- 
fxara themselves as miraculously produced in the 

(1) Like other nouns ending in /za, such as fxiumxa, OTi/ia, ytii>nij.a, owtcfxa, 
tTTrtpfxa, this term does not denote the act or action, but that which is the 
effect of the action. 


minds of the gifted individuals : — which view, though 
adopted by Locke, Bloomfield, and other moderns, is 
decidedly objectionable on the ground of the tautology 
which it would introduce, and the want of harmony 
which would thus arise among the three several mem- 
bers of the climax. 

That YlyEv/ja, in verses 4th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 11th, 
is to be taken in a personal sense, is evident not only 
from the attributes ascribed to him, but from his 
being associated with the two other Divine Persons — 
6 KvpioQ, the Lord Jesus, and 6 Oeog, God the Father. 
And that he is a Divine person, is further proved by 
the fact of such association ; by his sovereign impar- 
tation of miraculous powers ; and by the identity of 
the phraseology employed to express the extent of his 
operations, ver. 11th, with the language in which that 
of the operation of the Father is expressed, ver. 6th. 
It is not a little surprising, that Bishop Middleton 
should have been perplexed by the ellipses, ver. 4th 
and 5th ; and that he should have considered the con- 
cluding clause of the parallelism, 6 kvepyihv rd Tzavrd 
kv TrdfTLP, " who worketh all in all," as intended to 
apply equally to all the three Persons of the Godhead. 
Such a mode of construction unnecessarily clogs the 
passage. The two preceding propositions are indeed 
elliptical, but the defective words are so easily sug- 
gested by the ideas contained in those which are em- 
l^loyed, that their absence is not sensibly felt. This 
would at once have appeared, had these propositions 
stood by themselves. We should then have supplied 
some words in the fourth verse, expressive of the in- 
spiring agency of the Spirit ; and in the fifth verse, 


such terms as convey the idea of the universal Lord- 
ship of Christ, to whom all the arrangements in the 
administration of the affairs of his church are subject. 
The gifts are the gifts of the one Spirit ; the admi- 
nistrations are carried on under the rule of the one 
Lord ; the results of both are effected by the universal 
operative power of the one Father, who is above all, 
and through all, and in us all. (Eph. iv. 6.) 

After finishing the climax produced bj the idea of 
Kvpiog having been suggested by the use of the corre- 
lative term ctaKovia, the apostle returns to the agency 
of the Holy Spirit, on which he expatiates in the 
remaining part of the section. The miraculous en- 
dowments by the exercise of which the influence of 
the Divine Donor was manifested, were not conferred 
for the purposes of ostentation and vanity, to which 
one of them at least had been awfully prostituted in 
,the Corinthian church, but each recipient was so 
favoured that he might contribute that which in his 
particular circumstances might be most advantageous 
to the interests of the gospel, ver. 7. 

Over the specific nature of the xapifxiAara, ver. 
8 — 10, no ordinary degree of obscurity has been 
thrown, partly by want of due attention to the struc- 
ture of the apostle's language, and partly by abortive 
attempts to harmonize the catalogue here given with 
that furnished at the end of the chapter. Because 
several of the gifts and offices in the one passage cor- 
respond to certain orders of persons mentioned by the 
same names in the other, it has been assumed that 
there must be an entire correspondence throughout — 
each co-ordinate member exactly answering to each — 


whatever difficulty may be experienced in establishing 
it. Various schemes of parallelism and interpretation 
have been constructed with a view to exhibit this 
correspondence ; of which, that proposed by Bishop 
Horsley, in the Appendix to his XlVth Sermon, has 
met with considerable approbation. Yet who that 
allows to sober principles of Biblical exegesis their 
proper influence over his mind, can possibly admit 
that " Teachers " of Christianity in the one table, can 
in any degree answer to " Faith" in the other ; or that 
" Helps" in the one can correspond to " Prophecy" in 
the other; or that "Governments" in the one can 
properly stand over against "Discerning of Spirits" 
in the other? Only a fertile imagination, unbridled 
by habits of severe critical discrimination, could have 
advanced a theory so totally subversive of the meaning 
of language, and calculated, to the extent of its luxu- 
riance, entirely to unsettle the interpretation of the 
New Testament. 

That there is a beautiful symmetrical connexion in 
the enumeration of the gifts, Ave shall presently shew. 
With respect to the list of persons holding offices in 
the church, and exercising gifts of a supernatural 
order, it may be observed, that it discovers nothing 
which indicates a design on the part of the apostle 
to adhere to the order in which he had classed the 
miraculous endowments, or to place the one table in 
j uxta-position with the other. It has generally been 
supposed, that in the former of the two, there are 9ii7ie 
varieties of gifts; and though in the latter there are 
only eight varieties of orders or persons, there being 
no office corresponding to the gift of " the interpreta- 


tion of tongues ;" yet, as it has been supposed to be 
comprehended under the yevr] yXoiaaiov, " diversities 
of tongues," with which the apostle concludes the list, 
the numbers have thus been made to coincide. If, 
however, we regard niarig, " faith," as we must, 
ver. 9, not as indicative of any distinct principle with 
which the immediately following endowments had no 
connexion, but as the basis on which they rested, or 
the root from which they sprang, the strict number in 
that catalogue will be reduced to eight, which creates 
a fresh objection to the system of identity. That 
dvTLki]-^eiQ, " helps," and Kvi^epvijaeic, " governments," 
should signify prophets and persons endowed with 
the faculty of discriminating inspired men and inspired 
matter, is contrary to all usage and analogy. They 
can only, with propriety, be referred to the admi- 
nistration of the affairs of the church : the one appro- 
priately designating the Deacons, whose office it was 
to afford d^rtXr/i^/tr, aid., to the poor, and otherwise 
assist in conducting the affairs of the church; and the 
other, the Elders or Bishops, on whom, as Trpoiard- 
fXEvoL. TrpoectTuJ-ec, or yyovjuevoi, devolved its KvjSipvrjairy 
direction, in regard to worship and discipline. To 
this interpretation of the terms it may be objected 
that there is nothing so peculiar in these offices tO' 
entitle them to be ranked with the extraordinary 
functions pointed out by the other names in the cata- 
logue. In reply to which we remark, that, as the 
circumstances which originated the apostle's argument 
were connected with the character of public worship 
in the church at Corinth, and the state of insubor- 
dination and want of discipline in many who took a 


prominent part in that worship, there was the greatest 
propriety in adverting to the more ordinary officers, 
especially as he had set out by stating that the persons 
whom he was about to enumerate had been placed by 
God in the church. Add to which, that though the 
functions of the bishops and deacons were designed to 
be permanent, and, on this account, are termed ordi- 
nary, it must not be overlooked that those who were 
called to sustain these offices in the primitive church 
were such as were endowed with spiritual gifts, and 
might justly, on this ground, be taken into the number 
of gifted persons. 

On examining the catalogue of ■^apiaixara as pre- 
sented in the original, it will be found to contain a 
three-fold classijfication, proper attention to which will 
greatly facilitate the interpretation of the passage. 
Instead of simply commencing with the words " to 
one is given," and then, as in the versions, repeating 
the words " to another is given," without any distinc- 
tion, before each of the following subjects of the 
several propositions, — from which it might be inferred 
that no relative adaptation existed among the gifts, — 
there is, according to the native force of the Greek, a 
marked distribution of them into three orders, each of 
the two last of which is, in its enumeration, intro- 
duced by a term discriminating it from that which 
precedes it, and comprehends under it one or more 
subordinate species, to each of Avhich is prefixed 
another term, also expressive of difference, but marking 
that diff'erence much less definitely than the former 
would have done. The Greek scholar has only to 
notice the distinctive use of trepoQ and oXKoq in order 


clearly to perceive the state of the question ; or if he 
will arrange the several members of the list according 
to the grammatical principle just noticed, he will at 
once become sensible of the beautiful symmetry which 
the passage, as thus divided, exliibits. 

I. €li ij.€v — Xo/fOf <TO<pia^, 

II. 'ETEPnj de TTto-Tty. 

1. ixWu) 5e xapt'trpiaTa la/jLUTnov. 

2. aWu) de kvepyijiJiara dvvdfieo^v. 

3. d'XXoj 5t ■Kpo(pt]reia. 

4. a Wtaj 6e diaKpiaeii Tryei/juaTtoi/. 
III. 'ETEPi2« 6e yevn ^Xoxro-Si/. 

2. aWw de epjujiveia 'fXwaawv. 

According to this division, " the word of know- 
ledge" belongs to the same class with " the word of 
wisdom ;" the " gifts of healings," " working of mira- 
cles," " prophecy," and " discerning of spirits," are 
assigned to " faith," as their genus ; while the " inter- 
pretation of tongues" ranks with " divers kinds of 
tongues," with which it is naturally associated. Assum- 
ing what we shall afterwards prove, that by Tricrrtg 
here is meant what is commonly called the faith of 
miracles, it is self-evident that it was indispensable to 
the exercise of all the four species of '^^apiaixaTa^ which 
are ranged under it, whereas it was not called for in 
exercising any of those which belong to the two other 
divisions, as will be shown in its proper place. 

We now proceed to consider these x«|0«<7/^a7-a sepa- 
rately, according to the classification which has just 
been pointed out. 

To the first class belong Xoyog aoc^iaQ, " the word of 
wisdom," and Xojoq yvwaeiog, " the word of know- 
ledge." That \6yoQ here is not to be taken pleonas- 


tically, as by Dr. Owen and others, seems evident from 
the nature of the case. Nor, indeed, can the pleonastic 
use either of this term or the Hebrew 117, to which it 
corresponds, be fairly established. In all the instances 
that have been alleged in support of it, there is some- 
thing which suggests the idea of a certain subject or 
matter spoken of, or some communication that is made 
respecting it. Equally inapposite is the interpreta- 
tion, adopted by many, which limits the acceptation 
to doctrine ; for though the word is frequently em- 
ployed by the apostle in this sense, as o Xuyog tov 
(T-avpov, " the v/ord" or doctrine "of the cross ;" 6 Xoyog 
-iiQ TTiaTEioc, "the doctrine of faith;" yet in such in- 
stances it takes the article, whereas in the present 
case it is anarthrous. The signification which best 
suits the connexion, is that of a faculty or power of 
communicating to others the things to which reference 
is made. AYhat confirms this view of the meaning is 
the recurrence of the term in this acceptation, Eph. 
vi. 19, where the apostle requests the prayers of the 
brethren, that Xoyog, " utterance," might be given 
unto him, that he might open his mouth boldly, to 
make known the mystery of the gospel. AYhatever, 
therefore, aotpla, or yywaig, in this connexion may 
import, the Xoyog was necessary for its impartation 
to others. 

The former of the two species which constitute 
this class, is aocpla, WISDOM. No small difficulty has 
been experienced in attempting to determine the pre- 
cise idea attaching to the term by which this primary 
endowment is designated, or the exact point of differ- 
ence existing: between its sisrnification and that of 


yvijjaiQ, employed to characterise the other species of 
endowment which is here associated with it. That it 
merely signifies prudence or skill in teaching, or dis- 
creet management in adapting the doctrines or defence 
of the gospel to persons, occasions, and circumstances,' 
how important soever such a quality is in all Chris- 
tian teachers (and was especially so in the apostles, 
who were often placed in the most difficult and trying 
situations), cannot be admitted to come up in any 
degree to the claims which the exigency of the pas- 
sage presents. All ideas derived from the application 
of the term in systems of philosophy are no less ob- 
jectionable. Bishop Horsley, carried away by its use 
in this sense in the classics, would comprehend under 
it the natural principles of reason, from which he 
imagines the apostles were called to argue for the 
conviction and conversion of philosophical infidels. - 
Grotius^ considers it to have the same signification 
with the Hebrew rro^n, which occurs so frequently in 
the writings of Solomon, and explains it of grave and 
weighty sentences, such as those contained in the 
book of Proverbs. From this apparently, Bilroth, 
one of the most recent foreign commentators on the 
Epistle, adopts the notion of practical ^visdom, and 
supposes the word to be descriptive of the kind of in- 
struction conveyed in the parables of our Lord, and 
the hortatory parts of the apostolical Epistles. On 
the same principle of Old Testament reference, it is 
interpreted by Michaelis* in application to the Jewish 

(1) Owen's Discourse of Spiritual Gifts; Works, vol. iv. p. 281, 8vo. edit. 

(2) Append, to Serm. XIV. (3) Annot. in loc. 
(4) Anmerk. zum, 1 Cor. xii. 8. 



philosophy, which consisted in a recondite knowledge 
of the ancient Scriptures, laws, and usages of the 
Hebrews. He accordingly conjectures that the wisdom 
or science here meant, was occupied with the inter- 
pretation of the Old Testament, in subserviency to the 
establishment of the doctrines and facts of Christianity. 
Such constructions would never have been put upon 
the term, had due attention been paid to the peculiarly 
appropriated sense, in which it is used in the New 
Testament, especially in the present Epistle. In the 
second chapter particularly, after disavowing the use 
of the artificial means prescribed by human philosophy, 
the apostle takes occasion, from the introduction of the 
word (To<pia, to shew, that he nevertheless did teach 
wisdom ; — not indeed a wisdom originating in, or har- 
monizing with, the philosophy of the world, but the 
only system worthy of the name, and in itself truly 
divine, which, though concealed from all preceding 
generations, was to be traced to the eternal counsel of 
Jehovah, who had determined in due time to reveal it 
for the salvation of men. (Verses 6, 7.) The ancient 
church had been favoured with partial developments 
of the plan of human redemption ; and Old Testament 
believers, to the extent of their knowledge of it, 
rejoiced in the anticipation of its execution ; but it 
was so couched under the figurative language of pro- 
phecy, and the external types of the Jewish economy, 
that it was perceived only by a few. Of this we have 
a practical illustration in the rejection of the Messiah, 
and the blessings of his kingdom, by the great body of 
those who had been constituted its depositaries. The 
glorious principles, however, which this plan involved. 


and which formed a system of wisdom which it was 
impossible for man either to have discovered or 
devised, God disclosed immediately to the apostles. 
Truths of which they could have had no conception 
were communicated to their minds instantaneously, 
without the intervention of means, by direct illumina- 
tion from above. These truths relate to the develop- 
ment of the Divine character and purposes ; the dignity 
of the Redeemer ; the excellencies of his character ; 
the wonders of his incarnation, obedience, atonement, 
and intercession ; the spiritual nature of his kingdom ; 
the person, office, and operations of his Spirit; the 
present privileges and future glory of his subjects ; 
his final triumph over his enemies ; his second advent ; 
and the character and results of the general judgment. 
Christ "the wisdom of God" is the centre, and the 
sphere of his mediation is the vast circumference, 
within which are deposited all the treasures of wisdom 
and knowledge, (Col. ii. 3.) In the whole economy 
of salvation, and in each of its several parts, a display 
is made of Divine wisdom infinitely transcending the 
disclosures furnished by the natural world. It is an 
attribute which he hath exercised towards us in the 
highest degree, STiepicraevaey kv Trdar} Gocpia, (Eph. i. 8) ; 
and so multiform are the exhibitions made of it in the 
gospel, (?; TroXviroiKiXog ffofia rou Qeov,) that it furnishes 
themes of profound contemplation to the highest orders 
of created intelligences. (Eph. iii. 10; 1 Pet. i. 12.) 

And as the human mind could not have contrived 
such a system of divine philosophy, its unassisted 
powers were equally inadequate to the task of teaching 
it to the world. The apostles of Christ were in them- 


selves totally disqualified for unveiling its mysteries. 
They required supernatural aid; and that aid was 
vouchsafed by the impartation of the yapicr^a of which 
we here treat. On receiving the '' power from on 
high," which was promised by their Divine Master, 
they not only obtained a clear insight into the doc- 
trines of the economy of grace, but became fully com- 
petent to teach them with infallible accuracy to others. 
Hence Paul speaks of himself as aotphq apxireKTOJVf 
" a wise master-builder," (1 Cor. iii. 10) ; and employs 
a tone of confidence and authority in his Epistles, 
which would have been altogether unwarranted, if he 
had not been miraculously endowed. And Peter 
adduces the peculiar wisdom with which Paul was 
gifted, rriv avT(o loQeiaav ao^iav, as the source of his 
ability to compose his Epistles, " even as our beloved 
" brother Paul also, according to the wisdom given 
" unto him, hath written unto you ; as also in all his 
" epistles, speaking in them of these things." (2 Pet. 
iii. 15, 16.) That this wisdom is equivalent to diroKa- 
Xv\piQ, revelation, and the impartation of a knowledge 
of Divine secrets, is evident from 1 Cor. xiv. 6 ; xiii. 2; 
in which passages these are introduced in the same 
relation to yvwVig, as ao<j>ia is in the present text. 
" Now, brethren, if I come unto you, speaking with 
" tongues, what) shall I profit you, except I shall speak 
" to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by 
" prophesying, or by doctrine?" " And though I have 
" the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries 
" and all knowledge ; and though I have all faith, so 
" that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, 
*' I am nothinoj." 


By o-o^ta, therefore, in tliis passage, we understand 
the sublime truths of the gospel, directly revealed to 
the apostles, of which the \6yoc was the supernatural 
ability rightly to communicate them to others. 

The second species of this primary class of extraor- 
dinary spiritual endowments is yvwaig, knowledge. 
This term, like that the import of which we have just 
examined, is in itself extremely simple ; and perhaps 
the difficulties which have been felt in fixing its mean- 
ing in this and some parallel passages, are chiefly to 
be ascribed to the predominating influence of its 
common acceptation upon the mind. To form a 
proper idea of it, we must recollect that it is neither 
ordinary nor saving knowledge that is meant, but a 
gift peculiar to the first age of Christianity : — miracu- 
lous in its nature, and designed to contribute, by its 
exercise, to the establishment of the Church. This 
Chrysostom ^ and other Greek fathers lost sight of, or 
they would not have sunk it into a mere acquaintance 
with divine truth, which ordinary believers might 
possess without the faculty of communicating it to 
others. On the other hand, we must also be on our 
guard against the influence of the signification attached 
to yvuffLQ by the ancient Platonic philosophers, and, 
after them, by those of their disciples who embraced 
the gospel, in whose writings it incessantly occurs. 
Accustomed to apply it in abstract speculations respect- 
ing the Divine nature and other spiritual existences, 

(1) Tt X670? 7vtt>ffe&)?; ov eixov ctTToWot t5i/ WKnEav, yvuKTiv fiev exovret, 
didda-KGiv 6e ovran fir] bvvd^evoi, ovhe elr erepoi' euKoXur h^eve-fK^iv, anep 
fidecrav. The same view is given in the Commentary of Theodoret. 


the latter employed it in reference to the highest kind 
of knowledge with which the followers of Christ were 
favoured, or a perfect comprehension of the grand 
fundamental principles of his religion: whence the 
name Gnostic, which came to be commonly used in 
the second century, in application both to those who 
possessed these sublime conceptions of divine truth, 
and to those who merely pretended to them. Heyden- 
reich,' Stenersen,^ and Bloomfield,^ adopting this 
acceptation of the term, reverse the order of these 
XaptV/xara, and consider yvixtaig to be the more exalted 
and comprehensive of the two. In the same class of 
interpreters may be ranked Neander* and Bilroth,^ 
who explain yvioaig of the theoretical, and tro^/a of the 
practical, knowledge of religion. But to this construc- 
tion of the meaning, it must be objected that it violates 
the principle of relation, which the apostle uniformly 
observes when referring to the gifts in question. 
Thus in ch. xiii. 2, already quoted, he first mentions a 
comprehension of " mysteries," and then " knowledge," 
just as in ch. xiv. 6, " knowledge" follows " revelation." 
We adhere, therefore, to the order approved by Calvin, 
Lord Barrington, Doddi'idge, Horsley, Macknight, 
Hales, and Townsend, who regard the "word of 
knowledge" to be inferior and subordinate to the 
" word of wisdom." 

With respect to the nature of the gift itself, it 

(1) Comment, in prior, du Pauli ad Corinth. Epist. Marburgi. 1828. 

(2) Epistolae Paulinae perpet. Comment. Christianae. 1830. 

(3) Greek New Test. 2d ed. Note. 

(4) Geschichte der Pflanzung und Leitung der Chr. Kirche durch die Apo- 
stel. p. 120. 

(5) Comment, in loc. 


appears to have consisted in the immediate communi- 
cation of an exact and competent knowledge of the 
truths, which God had already revealed through the 
instrumentality of the inspired prophets and apostles, 
in consequence of which, those who possessed it became 
qualified, independently of the use of all ordinary 
means, forthwith to teach them to the church. They 
differed from the apostles, who possessed the word of 
wisdom, inasmuch as the latter had new truths re- 
vealed to them ; whereas it was the department of the 
former, infallibly to explain truths and doctrines which 
had been previously divulged. They also differed 
from ordinary teachers — these being under the neces- 
sity of acquiring their knowledge of the great prin- 
ciples of revelation by a diligent study of the holy 
Scriptures, and all the subsidiary means at their com- 
mand; whereas the primitive instructors, who were 
supernaturally endowed with the yvuiaig here specified, 
were at once prepared to discharge the duties of their 
office. They had imparted to them, clear, accurate, 
and connected views of the Divine dispensations; 
a profound acquaintance with the more intricate and 
obscure parts of the ancient inspired oracles ; and such 
enlarged and definite conceptions of the doctrines 
preached by the apostles, as enabled them by their 
ministry greatly to contribute to the instruction and 
confirmation of the disciples in the faith of the gospel. 
Their interpretations, proceeding from direct inspira- 
tion, possessed an authority which was tantamount to 
that claimed by the apostles for the new truths, which 
it was their province to reveal. According to this 
view of the gift, all difficulty in explaining 1 Cor, xiv. 6 


is removed. The apostle might impart a new revela- 
tion ; he might give an infallible interpretation of some 
truth already revealed ; he might deliver a prediction ; 
or he mio;ht give instruction on some known and 
acknowledged points of Christian doctrine. For, as 
an apostle, he combined in his person, not only the 
y^^afuafxara forming the present class of gifts, but a 
share of all the extraordinary spiritual endowments, 
which were at that time bestowed upon the church. 
Though those to whom this particular modification of 
divine inspiration was imparted did not possess the 
" word of wisdom ;" those who had the latter gift 
conferred upon them, possessed and exercised the 
" word of knowledge," or the faculty of infallibly inter- 
preting the Divine Revelations. 

This view of the subject is substantially that adopted 
by Lord Barrington, Benson, Macknight, Townsend, 
and Macleod, in his invaluable work on the gifts of 
inspiration ; ^ though most of these writers restrict the 
inspired knowledge to an extraordinary ability to 
understand and explain the meaning of the Old Testa- 
ment, particularly in reference to the person, work, 
and kingdom of the Messiah. 

We now come to the second class of -xapiaiJiaTa, of 
which there are four species ranged under the general 
head of Triarig, or faith. Though itself a miraculous 
endowment, and essential to the effective exercise of 
those which immediately follow in the classification, 

(1) A View of Inspiration ; comprehending the Nature and Distinctions of 
the Spiritual Gifts and Offices of the Apostolic Age. By Alex. Macleod. 
Glasgow, 1827. 


this -KiffTLQ is to be contemplated, not as a separate and 
distinct gift, but as the immediate source to which 
these endowments are to be traced, or the fundamental 
principle by which they were called into operation. 
It holds the same place in regard to the succeeding 
Xa|Oto-/uara which \6yoQ does to the two ■yapicrfxaTa 
which precede. It was not required for the exercise 
of either of these gifts ; nor was it necessary in order 
to the exercise either of the ability to speak foreign 
languages, or to interpret these languages. All that 
was requisite in any of these cases, was the impartation 
of the conceptions of the things to be revealed or inter- 
preted, and the words to be spoken or translated. 
But without TTiffTiQ no miraculous cure could be 
eiFected ; no stupendous supernatural effects produced ; 
no prediction uttered ; and no discovery made of the 
real state and secret thoughts of the heart. 

That the faith here specified is not that of doctrines, 
the reception of which was essential to the salvation 
of those who possessed it, nor merely a firm confidence 
in the truth and importance of the Christian rehgion, 
as Belsham^ fritters it down, but of things of an 
extraordinary and supernatural character to be per- 
formed for the good of others, or for the general 
advancement of the cause of Christian truth, was per- 
ceived by Chrysostom,^ and is the construction put 
upon the term by nearly all, excepting those of the 
Neologian school, who have written on the subject. 
Bishop Horsley^ stands almost alone in the opinion, 

(1) Epistles of Paul translated, &c. Vol. ii. p. 256. 

(2) TliaTiv 01) raii-rnv '\4'{et rrjv twv SoffMarwv, dWa ti^v twv arifxeioiv. 

(3) Ut sup. 


that it signifies a dejDth and accuracy of understanding 
in the general scheme of the Christian revelation, for 
the improvement and edification of believers. It is in 
fact what the schoolmen called fides miraculorum, or 
a firm and undoubting confidence in God, produced by 
an immediate impulse of his Spirit on the minds of 
those who exercised it, that, in certain given circum- 
stances, he would, through their instrumentality, per- 
form acts surpassing the power of natural agency. 
The effects which resulted from it, did not consist 
simply in the performance of difficult actions, or the 
putting forth of extraordinary exertion, which circum- 
stances might require. They were, in all cases, strictly 
supernatural. It is of this peculiar kind of faith our 
Lord speaks when he charges his disciples, (Mark 
xi. 23,) — " Have faith in God. For verily I say unto 
" you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, 
" Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea ; 
" and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe 
" that those things which he saith shall come to pass ; 
" he shall have whatsoever he saith." That the form 
TTiariv QeoVf which here occurs, is to be rendered " a 
strong faith," as some have done, on the ground of 
what has been called a common Hebraism, cannot be 
proved, since it is more than doubtful whether any 
such idiom really exists in the Hebrew language. 
Qeov is here, as frequently, the genitive of object, and 
the phrase imports a firm and unshaken reliance 013. 
Divine Omnipotence. The absence of all doubt with 
respect to the production of the miracle is expressly 
declared both in this and the parallel passage, Matt. 
xxi. 21, to be indispensable to its performance. It 


seems evident from the connection, that it is of this 
faith Christ also speaks, Mark xvi. 17, — "And these 
signs shall follow them that believe ; in my name shall 
they cast out devils; they shall speak with new 
tongues." It is true, he had just insisted on the indis- 
pensable necessity of that faith with which salvation 
is connected; but he had finished what he had to 
deliver respecting saving faith, in the 16th verse; and 
now proceeds, taking occasion from the introduction 
of the term, to employ it in a higher sense (ver. 17), 
in reference to that special endowment, which was 
required for the performance of those miracles which 
he immediately describes. That it is the same " faith" 
the apostle has in view, when he says, (1 Cor. xiii. 2,) 
" If I have aU faith, Trdaav tijv Trianv, so that I could 
" remove mountains," is evident, not only from its being 
classed along with prophecy, an acquaintance with 
mysteries, and the gift of supernatural knowledge, but 
from the effects ascribed to it. To the exercise of this 
spiritual gift in effecting miraculous cures, the Apostle 
James also refers, (ch. v. 14, 15,) — " Is any sick 
" among you ? let him call for the elders of the 
" church ; and let them pray over him, anointing him 
" with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer 
" of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise 
" him up ; and if he have committed sins, they shall 
" be forgiven him." What is here termed // evxr} rrjg 
Triareuyg, is not that which is usually called believing 
prayer, or such prayer as is based on the Divine 
character and administration generally, or on parti- 
cular promises of Scripture made to all believers, but 
that in which the gifted person was to engage from 


a firm persuasion, supernaturally wrought in his mind 
at the time, that God would, on the occasion specified, 
miraculously restore the sick believer to health. The 
exercise of this gift presupposes a conviction, resting 
on the most solid grounds, that he, who possessed it, 
was called at the time to perform a miracle ; and, on 
proceeding to the performance of it, an unwavering 
confidence in the power and faithfulness of God to 
effect it. 

The first of the supernatural gifts placed under this 
special faith, as their operative principle, is xaptV/xara 
ia[j.aTU)p, THE GIFTS OF HEALING. The attempts of 
some foreign commentators, after Rosenmiiller, to 
reduce this endowment to the rank of eminence in 
medical science, are a burlesque on the word of God, 
and totally undeserving of serious refutation. Hey- 
denreich ^ properly designates the opinion : Vacua et 
inanis conjectura. The use of the plural in the speci- 
fication of the gift, is derived from the number and 
variety of the diseases that were healed. When our 
Lord sent forth his twelve disciples, he invested them 
with power '• to heal all manner of sickness and all 
manner of disease;'" and one of the prominent parts of 
the charge which he delivered to them on the occasion, 
was : ''Heal the sick." (Matt. x. 1, 8.) To the account 
given by Luke of the same commission, he adds: 
**And they departed, and went through the towns, 
" preaching the gospel, and healing every where,'^ 
(ch. ix. 6.) The seventy, who were afterwards sent 
out to announce the approach of the Divine reign, 

(1) Vol. i. p. 301. 


were similarly endowed, and commanded to " heal the 
sick of every city into which they might enter," (Luke 
X. 8, 9.) In like manner, when the apostles received 
their final commission, just before the ascension of 
their Master, he expressly promised, that they should, 
in the exercise of the special yapiafia of faith, lay 
hands on the sick, and they should recover, (Mark 
xvi. 18 :) — a promise, to the accomplishment of which 
ample testimony is borne in the Acts of the Apostles, 
especially in chap. v. 15, where we read, that, in con- 
sequence of the impression made upon the inhabitants 
of Jerusalem by the miracles wrought by the apostles, 
and the vast number of conversions which took place, 
" they brought the sick into the streets, and laid them 
" on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of 
" Peter passing by might overshadow some of them." 

When this gift was exercised, it was accompanied 
with the laying on of hands, or anointing with oil, 
both of which actions were symbolical of the exertion 
of Divine power, by which alone the cures were 
effected. (Mark xvi. 18 ; vi. 13 ; James v. 14.) Con- 
sidering the extensive scope which there was for its 
exercise, it is easy to perceive of what immense service 
it must have proved to the gospel — confirming its 
truth, and conciliating the good will of the more con- 
siderate of the heathen to a rehgion so manifestly bene- 
ficent in its nature and effects. 

The second class of effects resulting from the exer- 
cise of this gift of faith, is designated, tvEpy)]^aTa 
dvpufietov, THE WORKING OF MIRACLES. Definitely to 
mark the distinction between this x'^^P^^F^ ^^^ tl^^t of 


healing, lias greatly puzzled many of the commentators, 
owing to the supposed incongruity of treating the 
latter separately, since nothing can be more obvious 
than the fact, that it also is miraculous. Pressed by 
the difficulty, Macknight, without any support from 
analogy, and depending entirely on the precarious use 
of the Greek preposition in the compound eyEpyely, 
maintains, that the whole phrase is to be rendered 
the inworkings of powers, though he is obliged to admit 
that he has opposed to him the whole current of trans- 
lators, both ancient and modern. The hypothesis, 
which he constructs upon this single point of etymo- 
logy, is, that the gift consisted in the ability to infuse 
miraculous powers into the minds of others: — an 
endowment which cannot be proved from any other 
part of Scripture, or from the documents of uninspired 
antiquity, ever to have been conferred upon man. 
To operate thus upon the human mind is the sole 
prerogative of Him, 6 ivepyuiv to. Travra iv iraaiv. 
(ICor. xii. 6.)^ 

That miracles, various in their character, are here 
intended, is evident from the plural form of the terms 
{evEpyiiixara dvydfxEwy) employed by the apostle. 
Avva/jiiQy which properly signifies power or might, is 
the word commonly used in the Gospel to denote the 
miracles which were wrought by our Saviour ; and 
sometimes it expresses the power by which they were 
performed ; sometimes the effects of that power in the 
miracles themselves. (Matt. xi. 20, 21, 23 ; xiii. 54 ; 
Mark v. 30.) It also occurs in the same acceptation 
in the Pauline Epistles, and is that by which the 

(1) For a refutation of Macknight's arguments, seeMacleod, td sup. p. 267. 


Christian miracles are characterised as dwdnEig fxiX- 
XovTog aldvogy " the powers of the world to come." 
(Heb. vi. 5.) The other term, ivepyiinara^ occurs 
only here and ver. 6, and, as has already been 
observed, is descriptive not of the act of performing 
the miracles, but of the effects of that power by which 
they were performed. Both words may indeed be 
taken as a common hendiadys, and are equivalent to 
iyepyfifxara ^vvara, " miraculous results," or, as dvvdfieiQ 
by itself is frequently rendered in our common version, 
" mighty deeds." 

The very selection of the terms appropriated by the 
apostle to the description of this gift, sufficiently 
evinces that he had something of no ordinary character 
in view, to which he thus gives expression. Though 
every effect produced by causes not within the course 
of nature is miraculous, we may conceive of a differ- 
ence in the circumstances in which these causes are 
called into operation, and in the degree in which the 
supernatural energy requires to be exerted. Between 
the healing of a disease, for example, and the raising 
of a dead person to life, there exists a most palpable 
distinction. The former might have been effected in 
the course of time by the efforts- of human skill. The 
miracle consisted in the cure being produced instan- 
taneously and altogether independently of the use of 
adequate means. But to the re-animation of one who 
had been really dead, no mere created power could 
possibly pretend, under any circumstances, or by the 
application of any means whatever. This distinction 
is clearly supported by what is stated, Mark vi. 5 : 
" And he could there do ovhjjiiay IvvamVy 7io mir/hti/ 


*' work, save that he laid his hand upon a few sick 
" folk, and healed them ;" and by the declaration of 
Luke, Acts xix. 11:" And God wrought iwd/jLetg re 
" ov Tcig Tvxovfrag, special miracles, by the hands of 
" Paul." 

To the production of more extraordinary and asto- 
nishing miracles of this description, the ^apto'/za we 
are now considering was applied. The restoration of 
the limbs or of the senses ; the resuscitation of the 
dead; the innocuous use of empoisoned liquor; the 
dispossession of demons ; the infliction of blindness, 
and even of death itself, as in the case of Ananias and 
Sappliira — were such stupendous effects of omnipotent 
intervention as could not but claim for those, in con- 
nection with whose ministry they were produced, all 
the deference which was due to teachers sent from 

This view of the distinction between the two gifts, 
which was not unnoticed by Chrysostom, is acquiesced 
in by Calvin, Schlichting, Crell, Grotius, Hammond, 
Heydenreich, Macleod, and, on the whole, by Bilroth. 

The third gift assigned to Faith, as its principle of 
operation, is 7rpo(j)r]T£ia, prophecy. In a former 
Lecture it was shown, that the term prophecy is 
employed in Scripture with great latitude of application. 
To determine its signification in this passage, we must 
be careful not to confound it with another acceptation 
in which it is used in this same Epistle. In chapter 
xi. 4, 5 ; xiv. 1, 3, 4, 5, 22, 24, 31, 32, 37, 39, it is 
taken in the laxer sense of public teaching, in what 
way soever that teaching was exercised, whether by 


expounding the Scriptures of the Old Testament; 
discoursing of the great facts and doctrines of the 
gospel ; administering consolation ; or exhorting to the 
performance of duty. Universal edification was its 
immediate and grand design. Hence it is so highly 
estimated by the apostle; and is, on this account, 
specially contradistinguished from the gift of tongues, 
the utility of which, except under certain circum- 
stances, he more than questions. Those who were 
prophets, in this acceptation of the term, differed in 
nothing from succeeding pastors and teachers, or 
ordinary ministers in after ages, except in the enjoy- 
ment of a supernatural influence, which, though it did 
not elevate them to the rank of those who were gifted 
with the " word of wisdom" and the " word of know- 
ledge," and thus render them infallible, nevertheless 
supplied the defects under which they naturally 
laboured, and qualified them ex promptu to minister 
instruction to the church. It is only necessary dili- 
gently to collate the several aspects under which the 
subject is presented in the fourteenth chapter, to be 
convinced that this is the only view that can be taken 
of it, which does not involve it in insuperable diffi- 

In the same sense the word "prophesying" is used, 
when the female members of the church are supposed 
to have engaged in it (ch. xi. 5) : " Every woman, that 
prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered, 
dishonoureth her head." Most, indeed, interpret the 
passage to signify merely their joining in the public 
prayers and praises as a part of the congregation : but 
such a construction would never have been put upon 



it, had it not been to make it harmonize with the pro- 
hibition, ch. xiv. 34 : " Let your women keep silence 
in the churches : for it is not permitted unto them to 
speak." Were it not for this latter passage, we should 
unquestionably have interpreted the fifth verse just as 
we do the fourth, of actual praying and preaching. 
The phraseology is identical; and there appears no 
reason why we should dispute the fact of certain 
female members of the Corinthian church actually 
engaging in these exercises. It was not the object of 
the apostle, however, at this stage of his argument, to 
condemn the practice. Having introduced it, he 
exposes the gross violation of eastern decorum of which 
they were guilty in appearing unveiled before the 
assembly, and reserves the express condemnation of 
the practice for the close of his instructions on the 
subject of public worship. 

It is certain, however, that no such acceptation can 
be attached to Trpo(j>r]Teia in the catalogue of super- 
natural gifts, since, in the obvious relation in which it 
there stands to TrtVrie, the term must signify a peculiar 
endowment, in the use of which a degree of confidence 
was requisite, corresponding to that which was required 
for the performance of miracles. That this was neces- 
sary in order to qualify the primitive teachers to 
communicate to the churches the ordinary instructions 
with which they were inspired, will not be maintained. 
In what sense, then, are we to understand TTjOo^T/re/o 
but in its highest bearing — the disclosure of future 
events? The position which the apostle assigns to 
prophecy between " miracles " and " the discerning of 
spirits ;" his classing it along with mysteries, know- 


ledge, and faith of the highest description (eh. xiii. 2) ; 
and his distinguishing it from doctrine on the one hand, 
and from revelation and knowledge on the other 
(chap. xiv. 6) ; clearly show, that, in all these passages, 
he intended it to be taken in a superior sense to that 
in which he employs it, when describing the more 
usual mode of communicating public instruction. But 
there is no other, except that of predicting future 
events, which is not included in one or other of the 
terms, which he here employs. That there existed, 
in the apostolic age, an order of men who possessed 
the gift of predicting future events, is beyond dispute. 
We are told (Acts xi. 27, 28), " And in these days 
" came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch. And 
" there stood up one of them named Agabus, and 
" signified by the Spirit that there should be great 
" dearth throughout all the world : which came to pass 
" in the days of Claudius Caesar." Of this same 
Agabus we further read (chap. xxi. 11), "And as we 
" tarried there many days, there came down from 
" Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus. And 
" when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, 
" and bound his own hands and feet, and said. Thus 
" saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem 
" bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall 
" deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles." It 
appears also from the first Epistle to Timothy, that 
persons endowed with the gift of prophecy were spe- 
cially excited to give utterance to predictions respect- 
ing the eminent service which that young disciple 
would render to the Church, (ch. i. 18 ; iv. 14.) With 
this prophetic gift Paul himself was endowed, in 


virtue of which he was enabled clearly to predict the 
apostasy (1 Tim. iv. 1); and the rise, arrogance, and 
destruction of Antichrist (2 Thess. ii.) ; and John, the 
beloved disciple, possessed it in so eminent a degree, 
that the Apocalypse, which we have from his pen, 
ranks with the very first of the Old Testament pro- 
phecies. Now without the special assurance {ttl(ttlq) 
that they were divinely called to deliver these predic- 
^ons, and that God would, in due time, carry them 
into fulfilment, they could not have ventured to publish 
them to the world. By uttering or recording them, 
they staked their own reputation in all future time on 
their accomplishment or non-fulfilment. It is, there- 
fore, not without reason, that this gift is assigned to 
" faith " as its operative principle. 

The last of the gifts, to the exercise of which the 
extraordinary faith specified by the apostle was neces- 
sary, is ^laKpiareiDQ 7rvevfia.T(i)v, "DISCERNING OF SPIRITS." 
The same principle on which we accounted for the use 
of the plural in reference to two of the preceding gifts 
will apply to the present : the occasions for its exercise 
being various. It consisted in the faculty of distin- 
guishing persons who really spoke from inspiration 
from such as merely pretended to it. As in the case 
of Simon Magus, who, having witnessed the wonderful 
effects which resulted from the laying on of the hands 
of the apostles, was desirous of possessing the same 
power, in order that he might feed his vanity and 
increase his wealth, so it cannot be doubted that the 
excitement which was produced by the exhibition of 
the gifts in the Corinthian and other churches. 


provoked many to imitate the spirit and actions of such 
as possessed them. Nor is it at all improbable, that 
numbers became the dupes of enthusiasm, and actually- 
believed that they were the subjects of a divine 
impulse, while they spake from their own spirit. 
Against the influence of both descriptions of persons, 
it was highly important the first disciples should be 
put on their guard ; but in the circumstances in which 
the church then was, this could only be effectually 
done by a positive determination on the part of the 
Omniscient Searcher of hearts, through such instru- 
ments as he should select for the purpose. Where the 
apostles were present, being possessed of this and all 
the other gifts, they could at once detect impostors 
and persons who were deceiving both themselves and 
others ; but in their absence, and in the non-possession 
of their writings, by proper attention to which the 
church has since been able to judge of those who have 
pretended to inspiration, as well as of the truth of 
doctrine, a special order of divinely-accredited men 
was required. We say divinely -accredited : because 
without this the disciples might have been imposed 
upon by pretensions to this endowment equally as in 
regard to any of the others. Wherein their credentials 
consisted, we are not informed ; but we may suppose, 
that, in many instances, they received the sanction of 
the apostles, or that of others who were known to be 
inspired; or, that the effects produced, in most in- 
stances, by the exercise of the gift itself on those who 
merely pretended to a supernatural impulse, were such 
as to convince all who witnessed them of the justness 
o£ their claims. 


The reason why teachers are here called Tn^evfjiara, 
" spirits," is, that all who were selected by God to 
impart instruction to the primitive church were en- 
dowed with one or other of the extraordinary gifts of 
the Holy Spirit. When they spake, they spake 
iy TTvevfxari, by the Spirit, or under the influence of 
inspiration ; and received the designation from their 
being the subjects of this influence. The term only 
occurs in this acceptation in two other passages of the 
New Testament : in the first (2 Thess. ii. 2), the 
apostle warns the brethren not to suffer themselves to 
be thrown into perturbation respecting the immediate 
appearance of Christ, either cid Trvevfjaroc, by any one 
pretending to a divine revelation, by a pretended 
\erbal communication from the apostles, or by a letter 
purporting to have proceeded from their pen. In the 
other (1 John iv. 1, 2, 3), the Christians generally are 
thus exhorted : " Beloved, believe not, Travrl trvevjuaTi, 
" every spirit, but try, to. TrvEwjuara, the spirits, whether 
" they are of God : because many false prophets are 
" gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit 
" of God ; every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ 
" is come in the flesh is of God : and every spirit that 
" confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, 
" is not of God : and this is that spirit of antichrist, 
" whereof ye have heard that it should come ; and 
" even now is it already in the world." By placing 
the \pevdo7rpo<lirjrai, "false prophets," in contrast with 
the TTvevfiara^ " spirits," which were of God, it is 
evident, that by the latter he means teachers really 
endowed with the gifts of the Spirit. 

It may be asked, however: In what respect was 


such an eminent degree of faith required for the exer- 
cise of this gift of spiritual discernment ? We reply : 
First, because it was necessary that the persons who 
were endowed with it should be infallibly certain of 
the correctness of their judgment in given cases, before 
they proceeded to deliver a decision. And, Secondly, 
because without such assurance they would have been 
ill qualified to meet the opposition which they must 
have experienced on the part of the false teachers and 
their partisans. Their office was not merely to detect, 
but to expose — not merely to discern, but to present 
the reality of the imposture to the discernment of 

Some have referred the case of Peter's detection of 
the hypocrisy of Ananias and Sapphira, and Paul's 
exposure of the hidden wickedness of Elymas, to this 
gift ; and Macknight attributes to it what is said 
1 Cor. xiv. 2o, respecting the elFect produced upon the 
mind of a heathen, who should hear the truth intel- 
ligibly and forcibly taught in his native language ; 
but the peculiar and appropriated signification of the 
term irt'evfua in our present text, and in those to which 
we have just adverted, proves that such applications 
cannot be philologically sustained. 

There are yet two •^apia^a-a, forming the third class 
in the catalogue, the examination of which will occupy 
what remains of the time allotted for the present 

Of these the first is yivr] yKwajiov, rendered in our 
version: "divers kinds of tongues," — a gift, to 
which no ordinary degree of attention has of late been 


attracted, both by the philological investigations, which 
it has originated in Germany, and by the renewed 
claims to its possession, which have been advanced in 
our own country. As the latter aspect of the subject 
will properly come before us in our concluding Lecture, 
when the pretensions that have been made to inspira- 
tion subsequent to the apostolic age will be examined, 
our present observations will be confined to the gift 
itself, as exhibited in the New Testament, and the 
views, which have been taken of it by those, who have 
professed to determine the question on purely philo- 
logical and historical gi'ounds. 

Respecting the nature of this gift, it does not appear 
that any essential difference of opinion obtained in the 
early ages of the church. Whenever it is referred to 
either by the Greek or Latin Fathers, it is always 
taken for granted that it consisted in the ability im- 
parted to certain members of the first churches to give 
utterance to divine things in languages which they had 
never learned. The numerous succeeding writers, 
who have treated on the subject, have viewed it in the 
same light ; and it was reserved for modern times to 
present it under aspects totally at variance with the 
generally received opinion. The first who excited 
public notice by the novelty of his hypothesis was 
C. G. Bardili,^ of the University of Tiibingen, in a 
small tract on the primitive signification of the word 
TTpoiptJTrjQ as used by Plato, which he applies to the 
interpretation of the fourteenth chapter of the first 
Epistle to the Corinthians. Conceiving that there is 

(1) Sijinificatus primitivus vocis irpn^rtiTov ex Platone erutus cum novo 
teatHmine inlerpretandi 1 Cor. xiv. Gott. 1786. 


a difference between the phrases yXuiaffr] XaXely, " to 
speak with a tongue," and hipaiQ yXdj^raaic XaXeHv, 
" to speak with other tongues," while he explains the 
latter according to the common interpretation, he con- 
siders the former to signify nothing more than the 
employment of the tongue as an organ of utterance to 
unknown sounds. The gift, which he represents to 
have been supernatural, excited those who possessed 
it to such a pitch of enthusiasm, that they were utterly 
deprived of consciousness ; so that becoming the 
passive instruments of the Spirit, they discoursed or 
prayed in loud, broken, and half articulated tones, 
under convulsive affections of the body, resembling 
those to which the heathen priests were subject, when 
delivering the oracles of the gods. These accompa- 
nying phenomena he infers from certain circumstances 
mentioned in the second chapter of the Acts, and the 
passage referred to in the Epistle to the Corinthians ; 
and the construction which he puts upon yXuiaaa as 
signifying the organ of speech, is derived from the 
9th verse, where it is undeniably used in this 

The view of the subject thus advanced by Bardili 
was adopted by Eichhorn in his review of the work :' 
— only with this difference, that he rejected the dis- 
tinction which had been made between yXwacra, 
" tongue," and yXQaaai^ " tongues ;" and, agreeably to 
his well-known rationalistic principles, denying that 
there was any thing supernatural in the case, he 
resolved it entirely into the effects of bodily distemper, 
a heated imagination, or pagan habits, which many of 

(1) BibliothekderBib.Liter. 2B.5St. s. 757— 859, and again 6 B. 3 St. s.5. 


the Coriuthians had contracted, while frequenting the 
temples previous to their conversion to Christianity. 
Ziegler, Bohme, Ammon, and many others, followed 
on the same side ; but the theory was powerfully 
attacked, and its leading positions completely refuted 
by Storr,Mvho successfully vindicated the supernatural 
origin and importance of the spiritual gifts conferred 
upon the Christians at Corinth ; so that, since his time, 
it has not been advocated by any writer of note. 
Nor can it indeed be expected, that a notion so extra- 
vagant in itself, so destitute of foundation in Scripture, 
and so palpably at variance with the whole genius of 
Christianity, would continue to receive countenance 
except from those who are determined, even at the 
risk of sacrificing their literary reputation, to expel 
every thing miraculous from the Bible ; or from such 
as realize, in their physical or mental constitution, the 
description which Eichhorn and Bardili furnish of 
what they considered to be the phenomena of the case. 
Is it for a moment to be supposed, that, when the 
apostle declares, 1 Cor. xiv. 5 : "I would that ye all 
spake with tongues," his meaning is, that the whole 
community, or all the gifted persons, should assume 
frantic attitudes, and, by the irrational use of their 
tongues, give expression to sounds which were abso- 
lutely unintelligible? or that, when he thanks God, 
that he spake with tongues more than they all, he 
would be understood seriously to affirm, that he sur- 
passed them all in the number and vehemence of the 
inarticulate tones, which he enunciated in a state of 
ecstatic elevation? Did the disciples on the day of 

(1) In Paulus Neue Repertorium furbibl. und morgenl. Lit. 3Th. S.281-357. 


Pentecost require tlie supernatural energy of the Holy 
Spirit to enable them merely to move their tongues in 
an unintelligible manner? Was this the amount of 
the gift bestowed upon Cornelius and his family, and 
upon the disciples of John, who were rebaptized at 
Ephesus ? or, if inarticulate speech be intended, what 
are we to understand by yevr} yXtoaacjy, divers kinds 
of inarticulate speech? How could they really differ, 
if they were alike unintelligible ? 

When the apostle speaks of uttering by the tongue, 
Ilo. tyiq yXujcratjQy " words or discourse easy to be under- 
stood," (ver. 9,) he is not opposing the articulate and 
intelligent use of speech to that which is inarticulate 
and uninteUigible, but to the " uncertain sound of the 
trumpet," mentioned in the preceding verse ; and his 
assertion, that " there are, it may be, so many kinds of 
voices in the world, and none of them is without signi- 
fication," (ver. 10,) shows, that he never meant to 
extend his argument beyond the appropriation of real 
languages. That in this passage, 0wvr), which primarily 
signifies sound, then voice, must be taken in the sense 
of language or dialect, is evident : for it would not be 
true, that there are no sounds or voices in the world 
(a^wvwv) without signification, according as these 
terms are usually understood. The meaning is : every 
language is intelligible to some nation or other ; and 
it is only to persons who are ignorant of it, that its 
words are destitute of signification. This the apostle 
illustrates in a very forcible manner : " Therefore, if 
" I know not the meaning of the voice {rriQ 9w»//yc, 
" of the language,^ I shall be to him that speaketh a 
" barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian 


" unto me." (Ver. 11.) We shall be like two foreigners, 
who do not understand each other's tongue. The very 
use of the terms "interpret" and "interpretation," as 
applied to this subject, also proves that he could only 
have intelligent language in view : — it being a contra- 
diction in terms to speak of interpreting that which 
has no meaning. In short, the whole of his argument 
proceeds upon the principle, that the tongues in ques- 
tion were real languages, which, how properly soever 
they might be used in the presence of those by whom 
they were understood, could not possibly serve as 
vehicles for imparting edification to such as were 
ignorant of them. For their benefit the " interpreta- 
tion of tongues " was necessary, in cases in which the 
tongues were used. 

Another hypothesis formed with a view to explain 
the nature of this gift, is that according to which 
yXoJaaai signify single terms or expressions, which are 
either foreign, obsolete, obscure, or not in common 
use, and consequently not understood by all, but which 
poets, animated speakers, or persons in a high state of 
excitement, might be expected to employ. This 
opinion was first broached by the celebrated Herder ;' 
it was adopted among others by De Wette ; and has 
recently been espoused and discussed with great learn- 
ing and candour by Professor Bleek, of the University 
of Berlin.^ The arguments which he advances in his 
dissertation on the subject, are principally founded on 
the fact, which admits of no dispute, that in the Greek 
and Latin classics, ykutaaai, and glossce, often denote 

(1) Von der Gabe der Sprachen amersten christl. Pfingstfeste. Riga, 1794. 

(2) Ullman's Studien und Kritiken, Heft 1. 


antiquated terms which required interpretation ; idioms 
or provincial modes of expression, which were under- 
stood by those only who lived in the places where they 
prevailed ; the diction peculiar to poets ; and specially 
the poetical costume in which the Pythian priestess 
originally presented her oracles, but which was after- 
wards exchanged for that of prose. In support of 
these acceptations, he produces unequivocal quotations 
from Galen, Marcus Antoninus, Aristotle, Sextus Em- 
piricus, Plutarch, Quintilian, and Pollux; and, cer- 
tainly, were we to confine ourselves to the simple 
philology of the question, as furnished from these 
extraneous sources, it might be difficult to disturb the 
position which he occupies : but we no sooner bring to 
bear upon it the various historical circumstances, 
under which the subject is introduced to our notice in 
the New Testament, and one or two points of New 
Testament philology, than it becomes totally untenable. 
Applying his principle, however, to the statements 
of the sacred writers, the Professor attempts to show, 
that when persons are said to have spoken with 
yXwffo-at, the meaning is, that they gave expression to 
their new religious views and feelings in language, 
which differed as much from that of common life as 
lyric poetry did from simple prose ; and as they were 
men of plain habits, who had possessed no literary 
advantages, and from whom the use of such a style 
was not to be expected, their pcfssession of the gift 
could be ascribed to no other cause than the super- 
natural influence of the Holy Spirit, whom Christ had 
promised to bestow on his followers. By the extra- 
ordinary disclosures that were made to them, and the 


extraordinary emotions of spiritual gratitude and joy 
to which these disclosures gave rise, they were excited 
to bursts of feeling in the loftiest strains of praise. 
While thus engaged, their higher faculties were so 
overpowered by supernatural influence, that they lost 
the possession of intelligent consciousness, and em- 
ployed expressions which were at once unknown to 
themselves, and unintelligible to their hearers. When 
this state of ecstasy subsided, they possessed no recol- 
lection of what they had uttered, consequently were 
unable, without receiving the gift of interpretation, 
to translate or explain their discourse. The end to 
be attained by the collation of this x^P'-'^l^^ was two- 
fold : a demonstration to unbelievers of the indwelling 
power of the Holy Spirit, and the personal edification 
of those who possessed it. 

Such is briefly the theory of Bleek, which is in- 
vested with a considerable degree of interest by the 
coincidence existing between the results of his learned 
researches, and the light in which the " gift of 
tongues " is viewed by some in this country, who have 
recently published upon the subject, without being at 
all aware of the philological principle on which his 
hypothesis is founded. 

To the adoption of this theory, or of any of its 
modifications as held by Neander,^ Olshausen,- and 
Billroth,^ insuperable objections must occur to those, 
who take into consideration all the circumstances of 
the case, as presented to our view in the Scriptures. 

(1) Geschichte der Pflanzung, &c. 

(2) Commentar zu Ap. Gesch, 2. 4 — 11; and in Ullmann's Studien, 2 B. 
3 Heft. 

(3) Ut sup. 


Nor, indeed, is it possible to account for the sanction 
which it has received from these biblicul scholars, 
on any other ground than the influence of a mystical 
notion, which seems to predominate among most of 
the recent German supernaturalists, that those who 
experienced the extraordinary influences of the Spirit, 
had their intelligent consciousness repressed, and 
enjoyed most of the Divine life in the soul, when 
destitute of the power of intelligent development. 

It is obvious, that if the term yXwo-o-a is to be 
applied in its peculiar classical acceptation to all the 
passages of the New Testament in which the subject 
occurs, it will follow that the apostles and others 
exercised the power in certain forms, before they were 
endowed with it in others. In the promise made by 
our Saviour, Mark xvi. 17, it is expressly stated, that 
those who believed should speak yXwo-o-atg xatvalc, 
" with ne7V tongues." And in the account given of 
the phenomena on the day of Pentecost, it is as ex- 
pressly declared, that the disciples began to speak, 
ETEpaiq yXioaaaic, "with othei' tongues, as the Spirit 
gave them utterance." (Acts ii, 4.) Now if the word 
rendered "tongues" signifies by itself exalted, unusual, 
or unintelligible modes of speech, the addition of the 
qualifying adjectives "new" and "other" was quite 
unnecessary ; or if they be allowed to retain their usual 
force, their adoption necessarily goes to prove, that 
other modes of the same description had previously 
been employed by the disciples — the bare mention of 
which is its own refutation. 

That the yXwo-irai, " tongues," with which they spoke 
on the day of Pentecost (Acts ii. 4), were identical 


with l^iai diaXsKToi, the vernacular languages, (verses 
6th and 8th,) of the different nations, specified by the 
sacred historian, is incontrovertibly evident from the 
declaration made ver. 11:" "We hear them speaking, 
rale v/JiETipaLg yXcSaaaic, in our own tongues." The 
fact, indeed, is admitted by Professor Bleek, who 
unsuccessfully attempts to get rid of the difficulty by 
the supposition, that Luke, not having been an eye- 
witness, may have stated the circumstances differently 
from the order of their occurrence. Those who insist 
on our adoption of the interpretation given of yXwco-a, 
must, to be consistent, maintain that the terms and 
phrases selected from each of these foreign languages 
on this occasion, consisted exclusively of such as were 
antiquated and unintelligible (ralg ijfxerepaiQ yXoja- 
o-aic) ; yet the persons from the different nations, who 
heard them, found no difficulty in understanding them, 
but at once declared their import to be " the wonderful 
works of God." In the verse last quoted, the term is 
manifestly employed in its usual acceptation as signi- 
fying language generally, without any particular modi- 
fication of meaning ; and since it is used in reference 
to the same subject with that introduced at the com- 
mencement of the chapter, it would be a violation of 
all hermeneutical propriety to interpret it differently 
when it occurs there. But if the languages in which 
the disciples spoke on that occasion were the ordinary 
languages of the nations, many of the inhabitants of 
which were then present, and the miraculous collation 
of the ability to discourse in them was the fulfilment 
of the promise of Christ, it not only follows that this 
is the construction to be put upon the words of the 


promise, whicli specifies " new tongues," but that the 
same construction must be put upon all the other pas- 
sages, in which similar phraseology occurs. It follows, 
moreover, that the gift being the same wherever con- 
ferred, it had always the same object. But the object 
of its original bestowment appears from the unstrained 
purport of the narrative to have been to qualify the 
first Christians for the work of publishing the gospel 
in the different languages, spoken by those to whom 
they had access : consequently its future collation was 
designed to furnish the means of instruction to those, 
who must otherwise have been debarred from enjoying 
the benefit of their labours. Its importance to the 
members of the Church at Jerusalem, who were so 
soon to be scattered abroad amongst various nations, 
and who, when thus scattered, went every where 
preaching the word, (Acts viii. 4) ; to Cornelius and 
his fiimily, who were thereby qualified to publish the 
glad tidings to the mixed population of Csesarea, 
(ch. X. 44 — 46) ; and to the disciples at Ephesus, the 
much frequented capital of Ionia, (ch. xix. 6) — must 
be apparent to all. 

Tlie whole subject of the gift of tongues has been 
involved in much obscurity by unfounded assumptions 
respecting its appearance among the Corinthians, and 
the manner in which it is treated of by the* apostle in 
the fourteenth chapter of his First Epistle to that 
church. It is taken for granted, that its exercise was 
designed to be a regular and standing part of divine 
worship, so that at each meeting of the church, if pro- 
vision were made for interpretation, it would be proper 
to employ it ; .that one of its ends was self-edification ; 


that the person who used it had not the power of 
translating what he had spoken into the language 
generally known in the church, though he himself 
understood that language ; that his understanding was 
perfectly dormant during the exercise — the gift being 
the prostration of human intellect ; and that the utter- 
ance was the effect of an immediate operation of the 
Holy Spirit. But a definite and impartial view of the 
circumstances to which the reasoning of the apostle 
applies, and an unprejudiced examination of the mean- 
ing of his language, cannot but induce the conviction, 
that there is not the slightest ground for any of these 

The city of Corinth, being situated most advan- 
tageously for the purposes of trade, was a place of 
great resort by merchants from Asia and Africa, from 
Italy and other parts of Europe. Amongst its mixed 
population, a diversity of languages must have been 
spoken ; and consequently very considerable scope 
afforded for the exercise of the gift in question. In 
their intercourse with unbelievers of different nations, 
those who possessed it would appropriately employ it ; 
but its exercise in the church, in which the vernacular 
Greek was used, could only have been called for on 
special occasions, and even then it would have been proper 
to have confined it within narrow limits. It evidently 
appears, however, that many who had received this 
Xa/o/o-/za, either at Corinth or elsewhere, abused it in the 
church at that place, to the gratification of their own 
vanity ; obtruded themselves in numbers upon the 
attention of the assembly ; interrupted the procedure of 
the worship ; and thus prevented general edification. 


It may, to some, appear unwarrantable to speak of 
the abuse of such a gift ; but the apostle's reasoning 
clearly presupposes the fact. Though supernatural in 
its bestowment, the linguistical knowledge, which had 
thus been obtained, was permanently inherent in its 
possessors ; and might be employed by them in the 
same way as that of any language which they might 
have acquired by ordinary means. In this respect the 
gifts of tongues, and the interpretation of tongues, 
differed essentially from the other j^ap/ajuara : a mo- 
mentaneous illumination or impulse of the Spirit being, 
from their very nature, always indispensable to the 
exercise of the latter : whereas the former were con- 
stantly available without further miraculous interven- 
tion. The persons, therefore, who abused the gift, 
were not, at the time, under the Divine influence ; 
they were actuated simply by their own spirit; and 
ungratefully applied to purposes of personal ostentation 
and ambition what, at some previous period, they had 
received from above for the purpose of advancing the 
cause of truth. 

When the apostle refers to a person speaking, yXwaarjf 
with a tongue, ( 1 Cor. xiv. 2, 4,) he is not sanction- 
ing it as a stated exercise in the church ; but only 
supposing the case of a foreign language being em- 
ployed when no persons were present, except the 
speaker, to whom it was known. In such a case, 
whatever the individual might pretend or imagine, he 
was not really speaking to men : God alone knew the 
import of his discourse. He might derive benefit 
{TzvEvfiaTi) to his own mind by giving utterance to the 
sublime doctrines of the gospel, (which he could not 


have done, had he not understood what he spoke,) but 
others, not being able to attach any ideas to his words, 
were unedified. 

In the directions, which he gives with respect to the 
exercise of this gift, (vv. 13, 26, 28,) he evidently 
treats it as something which was occasional, and not 
as a stated or regular ordinance. There might be 
occasions, when a number of foreigners were present, 
which called for its introduction into the service : but 
even then he prescribes, that it should be restricted 
within certain limits, and that it should always be 
accompanied with an interpretation into the current 
Greek. In this way only could the meaning of what 
was expressed become profitable to the body of the 
church, (ver. 14.) He takes it for granted, that those, 
who spoke in these languages, might not know the 
Greek : being themselves foreigners, or at least not 
sufficiently versed in it to translate into it, in an 
edifjdng manner, what they had delivered in a foreign 
tongue. In such case, they were to pray for the addi- 
tional gift of interpretation, if no one was present 
endowed with that faculty. 

The opinion, that those who possessed the gift of 
tongues, were deprived of the use of their mental 
faculties, so as to be totally unconscious of what they 
said, while engaged in the exercise, cannot be held by 
any, who come, with unfettered minds, to the study of 
the sacred Scriptures. For assuredly there is nothing 
contained in these Scriptures, which, in the smallest 
degree, clashes with the principle, that the religion 
which they inculcate is, in all its aspects and bearings, 
"a reasonable service." It is represented as engaging, 


maturing, and strengthening, never as prostrating, 
debilitating, or annihilating the powers which man has 
received from his Maker. Some, indeed, have 
imagined, that they discovered the contrary in the 
language of the apostle, (vv. 14 — 16), "For if I pray 
" in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my 
" understanding is unfi-uitful. What is it then ? 
*' I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the 
" understanding also : I will sing with the spirit, and 
" 1 will sing with the understanding also. Else when 
" thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that 
" occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at 
" thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not 
" what thou sayest?" Here, it has been affirmed, we 
are pointedly taught, that it is possible for a person to 
be moved by the Spirit to give utterance to prayer or 
praise, while his understanding is perfectly inactive, 
and derives no benefit from the exercise. But nothing 
can be more alien from the sense of the passage. 
What the apostle means by to irvtv^d fxov is neither the 
Holy Spirit moving him to speak, nor any spiritual 
endowment with which he was gifted, but, as the 
phrase signifies in other passages, in which it occurs, 
(Rom. i. 9 ; 1 Cor. v. 3 ; 2 Tim. iv. 22 ; Philem. 25,} 
his own mind with which he engaged in the service. 
By vovQ, as contrasted with this, it is manifest he 
cannot mean his faculty of understanding — for it is 
comprehended under the former term irvevjia. The 
word must, therefore, signify the meaning or seme 
which he attached to the language he employed — an 
acceptation in which he uses the term, ver. 19. So far 
as he himself was concerned, he derived benefit — 


connecting as he did intelligent ideas with the words 
to which he gave utterance ; but the meaning of what 
he uttered (at^ap-rrog) produced no fruit in the hearers, 
inasmuch as thej did not understand him. It must be 
observed, however, the apostle is here only supposing 
a case, such as that which frequently presented itself 
in the church at Corinth — not that he would have it 
to be believed, that it ever occurred in his own expe- 
rience. On the contrary, he avers, that whenever he 
engaged either in prayer or praise, it was in a way 
which was intelligible and consequently profitable both 
to himself and others — rw TryevfxaTL — rw vojl. 

It was not the design of Paul to depreciate the gift 
of speaking in foreign languages. On the contrary, 
he was desirous that all who had received this gift 
should employ it on proper occasions ; but he declares, 
that, in relation to the edification of the church, it 
would not bear comparison with that of teaching in 
the vernacular tongue, (ver. 5.) It was a gift, which 
he himself enjoyed in an eminent degree, and which 
he used, when brought into contact with foreigners 
who understood no language but their own ; but in the 
church he would rather speak five words, in a manner 
that would convey his meaning to those who heard 
him, than ten thousand words in a language to which 
they were strangers, (vv. 18, 19.) 

On the whole, we consider the gift of tongues to 
have been an endowment, by which those who received 
it were miraculously furnished with such a knowledge 
of languages, which they had never learned, as enabled 
them to communicate to those, by whom these lan- 
guages were spoken, the glorious truths of the gospel 


of Christ. Its impartation, which had been predicted 
by the prophet Isaiah, (xxviii. 11, 12 ; 1 Cor. xiv. 21,) 
took place on the day of Pentecost, and during the 
continuance of the first age of the church : and, while 
it lasted, not only presented a standing miracle to the 
view of unbelievers, but paved the way for the more 
rapid spread of Christianity in the world. 

On the last of the gifts, epfxriveia yXwo-trwr, THE 
INTERPRETATION OF TONGUES, it is uot ncccssary to 
enlarge. It was merely a modification of that which 
has just engaged our attention, and could only be 
necessary on special occasions. When any one who 
had received the gift of speaking a language which 
was new to him, addressed an audience composed of 
such only as understood that language, no interpreta- 
tion was required ; but if he spoke in a mixed assembly, 
it was necessary for general edification, that his dis- 
course should be translated into a tongue or dialect 
intelligible to those who were unacquainted with that 
in which it had been delivered. Sometimes both 
endowments were combined in the same individual, 
but, in most instances, they appear to have been con- 
ferred on different persons. Thus the apostle directs 
(1 Cor. xiv. 13,) that he who speaks in a language 
unknown to an assembly, or, at least, to the bulk of 
those composing it, should pray (Iva Eiep/J.i]vevri) that 
he might be enabled to interpret, just as he had de- 
clared, ver. 5, that such a speaker would only be upon 
a par, in point of utility, with one who prophesied, if 
he furnished an interpretation of what he had delivered. 
He otherwise ordains, that, under present circumstances 


at Corinth, one, whom, from the office, he designates 
cupimrjrEVTriQ, an interpreter', should convert, into the 
vernacular Greek, whatever might orderly be delivered 
in a foreign language, vv. 27, 28. 

To conclude: the bestowment of these various 
Xo-pifffjiaTa being, as the term imports, purely gratuitous; 
and having for its object the promotion of the spiritual 
good of the kingdom of Christ ; not only those who 
possessed them, but all who were brought within the 
sphere of their influence, w^ere bound to cherish feelings 
of lively gratitude to the Triune God, from whom 
they proceeded, and to whom alone they owed their 
efficiency. And as, with all the diversity which cha- 
racterised them, there existed a blessed unity, it became 
both the gifted and those for whose benefit they were 
conferred, to maintain " the unity of the Spirit in the 
bond of peace." 



1 COR. X. 15. 

" / Speak as to wise men : judge ye ivhat I sai/.'" 

Revelation appeals to the understanding as well as 
to the heart. It requires no man to believe without 
evidence. So far from shrinking from inquiry or 
inculcating prostration of intellect, it courts the fullest 
investigation, and submits its claims to be tried by the 
unbiassed exercise of the judging faculty. To the task 
of determining whether these claims are divine, it 
uniformly assumes that faculty to be competent ; and 
while it furnishes abundant criteria by which to arrive 
at a satisfactory conclusion respecting its celestial 
origin, it clearly indicates the cause to which, in all 
instances, its rejection is to be traced, and emphatically 
pronounces the doom of those who shall be found 
chargeable with such rejection. " This is the con- 
" demnation, that light is come into the world, and 
"' men loved darkness rather than light, because their 
" deeds were evil." (John iii. 19.) 


Hitherto our attention lias been directed to some of 
the leading questions connected with the exertion of 
supernatural influence in general, as it respects the 
various modes in which a knowledge of the will of 
God was imparted to those who were honoured to be 
its original recipients. We now proceed to bring 
under your notice the exertion of the same influence 
in regard to its operation upon such of these recipients 
as were divinely commissioned to deposit in writing 
the knowledge thus acquired, together with other 
points of knowledge, which they had opportunities of 
acquiring from ordinary sources, and which Infinite 
Wisdom deemed fit should be preserved for the instruc- 
tion of future generations. Much of what was com- 
municated by Jehovah to mankind in ancient times, 
being designed merely to answer temporary purposes, 
was confined within the breast of the inspired indivi- 
duals, or within the narrower or more extensive circle 
with which they were placed in immediate contact. 
Of all that the holy and devoted Enoch was inspired 
to prophesy, nothing, that can be depended upon as 
genuine, remains, but the small fragment preserved in 
the Epistle of Jude ;^ of the prophecies of Ahijah the 
Shilonite, Shemaiah, Azariah, Hanani,^ and others 
who were the subjects of Divine inspiration, only a 
few scanty portions have come down to our times ; 
and even the visions of Iddo, though committed to 
writing, doubtless most interesting in their character, 
and serving as a book of infallible appeal at the time 
the writer of the second book of Chronicles lived,' have 

(1) See NoteL. 

(2) 1 Kings xi. 29—39 ; xii. 15, 22; 2 Chron. xi. 2; xii. 7; xv. 1 ; xvi. 7. 

(3) 2 Chron xi. 29; xu. 22. 


long ago irrecoverably perished. In like manner, how 
little comparatively do we possess of the inspired 
discourses of, the apostles of Christ ! From most of 
these heaven-taught ambassadors not so much as a 
single word has been transmitted to us. Like the 
holy men of God, who flourished before the birth of 
our Lord, some of whose names have just been spe- 
cified, they laboured each in his own individual sphere ; 
and their labours were blessed for the establishment, 
and promotion of the cause of God during their life- 
time, and, after their death, through the instrumentality 
of the disciples, who learned the truths of Christianity 
from their inspired lips, and conveyed it to the gene- 
ration which followed. 

It would seem unreasonable to maintain, that the 
documents, which compose the canon of the New Tes- 
tament are the only writings that proceeded from the 
pens of those to whom they are ascribed. They had, 
in all probability, frequent occasions to send written 
messages or shorter epistles to individual Christians, 
some of which may have been inspired, and others not, 
according to the nature of their contents, or the 
exigency of the circumstances under which they were 
written ; but these communications, having answered 
the momentary or more limited ends, which they were 
intended to accomplish, were never published — it not 
having been deemed proper that they should be pre- 
served for any purposes of future and general edification. 
It even appears certain, that an epistle was sent by 
Paul to the church at Corinth prior to the first in our 
canon, but which now no longer exists. The point, 
indeed, is contested, and many respectable authorities 


may be produced in favour of the opinion, tliat the 
document to which the apostle refers, 1 Cor. v. 9, is 
no other than that which he was then writing ; but no 
construction can, in my judgment, be more violent, or 
further removed from that which the language natu- 
rally suggests. In fact, we cannot well conceive how 
such a construction ever could have obtained, but for 
the influence of a covert, if not openly avowed indis- 
position to admit, that any writing can possibly have 
been lost which was penned by an inspired apostle. 
But what real difficulty is there in this, or any other 
supposable case, more than in the universally admitted 
fact, that a portion only of the gracious and Divine 
words, which proceeded out of the mouth of the 
Saviour himself, has been preserved to us ? How 
important soever may have been the instructions com- 
municated in the lost Epistle to the Corinthian church 
in their bearing upon certain local and private points, 
we cannot imagine, that, in a general aspect, or as it 
regards the edification of the church in all future ages, 
they possessed half the interest of much that Christ 
himself taught during his public ministry, respecting 
which we read, Mark iv. 33 : " And with many such 
parables spake he the word unto them, as they were 
able to bear it." Yet what he thus taught has not 
been transmitted for our instruction. In reference to 
this and all other matters of Divine ordination, it is 
our wisdom to acquiesce in the exact modes and pro- 
portions in which they have been administered, and 
on no occasion to adopt any hypothesis, to uphold 
which it would be necessary to misconstrue, or do 
violence to any part of the word of God. 


When investigating the different modes in which 
the Deity supernaturally revealed his will in ancient 
times, we took for granted the authenticity and credi- 
bility of the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, 
from which alone all our knowledge of the subject is 
derived. We appealed to them as sources containing 
divinely authorized statements respecting facts of 
history, and points of doctrine and practice, which are 
essential to our instruction and moral improvement as 
responsible agents under the government of God. 
We now advance a step further, and inquire on w^hat 
ground we attribute to these Scriptures divine autho- 
rity? What are the characters of that supernatural 
stamp with which they are believed to be impressed ? 
In other words : what is the nature of that inspiration 
under the influence of which it is affirmed they were 
written, and which is regarded as imparting to them 
an infallibility and authority to which no pretensions 
can be made by any merely human writings ? 

In treating this part of our subject it is not neces- 
sary to enter into a discussion of the evidences of 
Divine Revelation any more than it was necessary, 
when treating of those divisions which have already 
come under our consideration. We still assume it as 
matter of fact, that the books of Scripture were written 
by those whose names they bear, and that what they 
contain is entitled to our belief on grounds of a purely 
historical nature. But it must be obvious, that, before 
moving the question respecting the nature of inspira- 
tion, considered in the more limited point of view, 
which restricts it to the qualification of the sacred 
writers infallibly to embody in the forms of written 


language those truths and facts, which it pleased God 
should be transmitted to after ages, it is necessary to 
examine the evidence on the ground of which such 
high and paramount claims are advanced on their 
behalf. For not only is such the more logical method 
of proceeding, but it has this additional recommendation, 
that during the process of investigation to which the 
evidence will be submitted, much general information 
will be obtained respecting the subject itself, the 
importance of which, in preparing the mind for its 
direct and immediate discussion, cannot fail to be 

The proofs of the inspiration of the Scriptures 
naturally admit of a twofold division : those which are 
merely pi^esufnptive, resting on a more or less probable 
basis, and deducible in the way of fair logical inference 
from certain incontestible criteria, by which the Scrip- 
tures are distinguished ; and such as are positive, 
consisting in authoritative affirmations made respecting 
these Scriptures by those whose divine credentials 
have been fully established. 

What we propose in the present Lecture is to review 
some of the leading arguments which afford presump- 
tive evidence in favour of the Divine Inspiration of 
the Bible. 

The first of the a j)riori arguments to be adduced is : 
the reason of the case. If God has been pleased to 
make a revelation of his will to mankind, it must have 
been made in such a way as to secure the great ends 
of its impartatlon. In the relation in which we stand 


to liim, as the subjects of his moral government, it is 
of supreme moment, that we possess positive and accu- 
rate information respecting his character, the principles 
of his legislation, the precise nature and modes of those 
duties which he requires of us, arid what treatment we 
have reason to expect from him both in this and the 
future world. In the absence of such information, it 
would be absolutely impossible for us fully to ascertain 
our moral relations, or satisfactorily to determine the 
character of moral actions. In proportion as we might 
indulge in processes of reflection and reasoning, our 
minds would become the abode of anxious solicitude ; 
no well-grounded hope would cheer or animate our 
bosom; the present would be charged with inconsis- 
tency and contradiction ; while over the future nothing 
would hang but dense clouds of doubt or despair. 
To relieve us from the perplexities, which our natural 
circumstances obviously involve, and of which the 
wisest of the ancient philosophers were painfully con- 
scious ; to furnish us with palpable evidence of his 
own existence ; to impart to us the knowledge of that 
moral constitution of things over which he presides ; 
to acquaint us with our obligations and liabilities as 
free agents subject to his control, and amenable at his 
tribunal ; to communicate to us intelligence respecting 
the provision which he has mercifully made for our 
deliverance from the evils which we feel we have 
entailed upon ourselves by sin; and to unveil the 
otherwise impenetrable mystery, which envelopes the 
future issues of human conduct : — these are objects 
infinitely worthy of an all-wise, holy, and benevolent 
Deity. Whether we regard the capabilities of the 


human soul, or the character of its Omnipotent Creator, 
it seems diametrically opposed to every dictate of 
sound reason to suppose, that no means would be 
employed to remove the obstacles, which naturally 
intervene between man and the ascertainment of these 
necessary moral truths. Such means the Scriptures 
profess to furnish. They bear on their very surface 
the avowed character of a Divine revelation. They 
develope statements regarding God and his intelligent 
and responsible creation, which it is of the highest 
importance for man to know : statements, which every 
rightly constituted mind must intuitively perceive are 
precisely adapted to the actual condition and circum- 
stances of mankind, and which it cannot but instinc- 
tively feel to be most desirable should rest on a fixed 
and stable foundation. But no such basis can exist in 
the absence of insj^iration. Except we are assured 
that God actually did reveal the truths in question ; 
in other words, that the books in which they are 
contained were written under his express sanction, 
and by the aid of his divine influence, and that they 
were sealed with the infallible stamp of his authority, 
we must still labour under the painful apprehension, 
that, notwithstanding all the intrinsic excellence, and 
admirable adaptation, which we discover in them, they 
may have originated in human sagacity. The state- 
ments which they contain respecting our highest 
interests may be true in themselves, but nothing less 
than a well-grounded conviction that they proceed 
from a divine origin can satisfy the reflecting and 
inquisitive mind. The question, Has God spoken ? 
is that which must ever unavoidably press upon it. 


The inspiration of the written documents in which 
the revelations of the Divine will are deposited is 
essential to their character as an infallible authoritative 
rule of faith. If the instruments by whom they were 
penned merely wrote according to the best of their 
native ability ; if what they have stated be simply the 
result of their own observation ; or, if the arguments 
and proofs which they employ be referable to no 
higher source than the bare exercise of their intellec- 
tual and moral faculties — it matters not how high 
might be our opinion of their honesty and ability — 
they could not advance any authoritative claims on 
our submission, nor furnish us with an unerring 
standard to which we should be bound to conform 
either in belief or practice. Or, admitting that the 
prophets and apostles were divinely commissioned to 
teach their contemporaries, and that what they thus 
taught was binding upon the conscience of every one 
who heard them, it is nevertheless evident, that their 
doctrines and precepts could not possibly possess any 
direct obligatory power over us, except they had been 
handed down to us in the shape of a standing rule, 
expressly vindicating to itself the infallible claims of 
]3ivine authority. They must be embodied in docu- 
ments to which a final appeal may safely be made as 
the records of God. Nothing but " Thus saith the 
Lord," either in the way of direct communication, or 
through the medium of those whom he has charged 
and qualified, without lapse or failure, to instruct us, 
can oblige us to surrender our judgment, or yield a 
cordial and unreserved obedience. And as, in the 
absence of uninterrupted miraculous agency, this 


instruction could only be infallibly conveyed to future 
generations through the medium of written documents, 
to prove effectual in securing its ends, it must, as thus 
transmitted, be invested with absolute autocracy. It is 
the bar before which every question of a religious nature 
must be brought, and from which there is no appeal: 
to the decision, which is there pronounced, every mind 
must unhesitatingly bow. " To the law and to the 
testimony : if they speak not according to this word, it 
is because there is no light in them." Isaiah viii. 20. 

Another presumptive evidence of the inspiration of 
the Scriptures is derived from the incongruity of sup- 
posing, that such writings could have proceeded from 
the pens of those to whom they are ascribed, except 
they had been the subjects of supernatural influence. 
It is not our design to enter into an investigation of 
the contents of each book which is found in the sacred 
canon, or even of the entire contents of any one of 
such books. Their claims will be considered under a 
separate head of argument. Nor do we intend to dis- 
cuss the subject of the style, with respect to which we 
would only remark, that such are its characteristic 
features in the different writers by whom the Scrip- 
tures were composed, and such its complete harmony 
with their age, rank, and culture, that it forms one of 
the most satisfactory evidences of the authenticity of 
their writings. But the point of view in which we 
now regard them respects the peculiar nature of the 
leading subjects which they develop, compared with 
the native cliaracter of the penmen, and the circum- 
stances in which they are known to have been placed 


previous to their being engaged in making such dis- 
closures to the world. The simple consideration of 
the nature of some of the subjects, which incidentally 
arrest our attention, forces upon the mind the convic- 
tion, that the knowledge of them never could have 
originated in the operations of their own intellect, or 
been derived from a merely human source. Without 
jeopardizing the authority of Scripture by making it 
dependent on any modern theory of geology, it cannot 
but strike every candid mind, as a remarkable circum- 
stance, that several of the statements contained in the 
Mosaic account of the formation of the globe exactly 
tally with those results at which, after most laborious 
researches, some of the ablest scientific men of the 
present age have arrived, but the knowledge of which 
Moses cannot be supposed to have obtained in any 
other way than by Divine revelation, or, at all events, 
from sources originally supplied by previous reve- 
lations. How could the Jewish Legislator have 
acquired his knowledge of facts, the truth of which 
has only recently been established on a scientific basis ? 
He was learned indeed in all the wisdom of the Egyp- 
tians, (Acts vii. 22,) but we possess no evidence what- 
ever by which to prove, that the philosophy of that 
people clearly or distinctly recognised these facts. 
From the accounts furnished us by Diodorus Siculus, 
Diogenes Laertius, Jamblicus, and other ancient 
writers, who have treated of Egyptian affairs, it is 
evident, that Moses might have ransacked all the 
archives of the country, without lighting upon any 
cosmogony corresponding to that which he has given 
in the beginning of Genesis. 


Most of the facts, to which reference has just been 
made, took place before the creation of mankind — 
^consequently were not susceptible of human testimony. 
Nor could the knowledge of them have been the result 
of early scientific research: for the investigation of 
subjects connected with natural history was too limited 
and partial in the ancient world, to admit of such dis- 
coveries as the facts in question involve ; and it is 
notorious, that it is only within the space of a few 
years, that they have been satisfactorily established.^ 

The whole system of Hebrew theology, as laid down 
in the Pentateuch, likewise corroborates our position. 
It is in the highest degree improbable, that Moses 
could have derived his sublime ideas of the unity, self- 
existence, and moral perfections of Jehovah, the uni- 
versal superintendence of Divine Providence, and the 
great principles of moral action, which are so promi- 
nently exhibited in his writings, from a school in 
which polytheism, idolatry, and human degeneracy 
reigned with the most unlimited sway. The utter 
rejection, too, of all superstition, and the uncompro- 
mising demands which are made on the homage of the 
heart, are points which we cannot conceive to have 
spontaneously sprung up in the mind of an Egyptian 
philosopher. At all events, it requires the utmost 
>tretch of credulity to believe, that, circumstanced as 
he afterwards was among a people, who had evidently 
been brought up under the influence of Egyptian ideas 
and customs, he would have attempted, or would have 
succeeded in the attempt, to enforce such pure and 

(1) See an Argument to prove the truth of the Ciirlstian Revelation, b}' 
the Earl of Rosse. London: 1S31. 


exalted principles of religious belief, or a code of laws 
so perfectly different from any to which they had been 
accustomed, and which bore on its very front, cha- 
racters of restraint that the least degree of foresight 
must have shown would prove intolerably irksome to 
the turbulent and licentious passions of the human 
breast. In fact, the constitution of the Hebrew state, 
its grounds of separation from the rest of the world, 
the sublimity of its religious creed, the design of its 
ceremonial observances, the principles of its penal 
code, its purity, strictness, equity, benevolence, and 
wisdom, discover such a superiority to every system 
then existing, and a totality of character so perfectly 
unique, that to attribute its origination to any human 
source would be to contradict every principle of fair 
and unprejudiced induction. To no human circum- 
stances in the history of the times, can it with the 
least semblance of argument be traced. 

In proof of our general position, let us select another 
portion of the Old Testament Scriptures — the Book of 
Psalms. Of the collection of sacred odes contained in 
this book, it may, without exaggeration, be affirmed, 
that it is altogether unrivalled. Not only does the 
religious poetry of all the other nations of antiquity 
fall infinitely short of it with respect to the pure 
elements of devotion ; but the subsequent hymnology 
both of the Jewish and Christian churches has nothing 
that will bear to be compared with it. Were we to 
select the most admirable psalms of mere human com- 
position, and from these to make a further selection of 
the most exquisite and felicitous portions, and then 
estimate their merits in relation to the compositions of 


" the sweet singer of Israel," how vast the distance at 
which they would stand from these divine songs ! 
Even those poetical effusions which have been in- 
spired by the devotional flame caught at the altar of 
David, lose immeasurably when placed by the side of 
the inimitable models after which they have been 
formed. The dignity, the solemnity, the force, the 
pathos, the splendour, the elevation, the sweetness, 
the tenderness, the inexpressible aspirings after moral 
purity and God, by which these models are charac- 
terised, irresistibly carry the mind to a higher source 
than mere poetical genius in the Hebrew monarch- 
even to that Divine Agent to whom he unequivocally 
ascribes his inspiration. (2 Sam. xxiii. 2.) The more 
we catch the spirit of these sublime odes, and the more 
our moral feelings are in harmony with the sentiments 
to which they give expression, the more we become 
conscious of a proximity to the fountain of eternal 
blessedness, and the more our affections are elevated 
above the grovelling objects of sense. 

Of the inspiration of the Hebrew prophets, strong 
presumptive proof is supplied by the circumstances 
connected with the discharge of their official duties, as 
well as by the nature of the messages they were called 
to deliver. How different their character and predic- 
tions from those which distinguished the vates and 
the oracular responses of the heathen! They were 
the guardians and interpreters of no oracle. The 
delivery of their prophecies was not purchased by 
costly presents, confined to certain days and places, 
or preceded by any particular ceremonies. Their 
announcements were not made in scanty and obscure 


sentences, in answer to superstitious applicants, and 
in terms of amphibological import. Neither were 
they characterised by those hollow and uneartlily 
sounds, which marked the responses of the Dodonaean, 
the Delphic, and other ancient oracles.* The prophets 
had no mysteries to conceal from the light of day. 
The signs which they furnished were publicly ex- 
hibited; they were submitted to the view equally of 
the prince and the peasant ; they invited the belief of 
the pious, while, at the same time, they challenged the 
opposition and braved the contempt of the wicked. 
The holy seers were an order of men who transacted 
the whole of their aiFairs with the utmost publicity. 
Instead of shrouding themselves in the gloom of a 
cave, and enunciating their predictions with the studied 
caution and the base timidity of conscious imposture, 
they appeared in the centre of the metropolis, in the 
palace of the monarch, before the gate of the city, 
and in the court of the temple, and denounced in the 
boldest and most unequivocal terms the judgments of 
God against every rank of transgressors. So far were 
they from amassing wealth, and living in luxury, by 
the price of their announcements, that the only rewards 
they received were hatred, derision, imprisonment, and 
death. Where, it may fearlessly be asked, is a parallel 
to be found in all the ancient world ? Does not the 
case stand out in bold relief from every thing ex- 
hibited in connection with the functions of religious 
teachers or divine interpreters on the pages of profane 
history ? Was it in human nature to have acted the 

(1) See NoteM. 


part ascribed to the Jewish prophets, if they had not 
really been the subjects of divine inspiration ? 

The same conviction in favour of the inspired claims 
of these holy seers must be produced by an impartial 
consideration of the nature of their messages. Not to 
insist on the exalted characters of majesty and moral 
excellence in which they depict the Divine Being, and 
the pure and forcible principles of moral obligation 
which they uniformly inculcate — we have only to exa- 
mine the predictions contained in their messages, and 
compare with these predictions the events in which 
most of them have received their accomplishment, in 
order to be satisfied, that on no solid ground can the 
exact coincidence be accounted for, except that of a 
direct revelation from Him, who knew the end from 
the beginning, and shewed to his servants the things 
Avhich were surely to come to pass. As the just con- 
ceptions of God and divine things with which the pro- 
phets were evidently familiar, were altogether foreign 
to their contemporaries, and we can only admit the 
possibility of the fact, on the principle of their having 
enjoyed a celestial tuition peculiar to themselves, it is 
most reasonable to refer their predictions to the same 
superior and infallible source. The knowledge of 
future events, which they communicated, was obviously 
miraculous. For though a shrewd and experienced 
politician, who is well versed in the history of the 
past, and commands an extensive and accurate view 
of the present, may draw many successful conclusions 
respecting the future, taking it for granted that the 
same causes will always produce the same events ; yet 
to predict what lies in the distant as well as the more 


immediate future ; to describe, with the utmost minute- 
ness and particularity, circumstances which, to human 
view, could have been connected by no intermediate 
links with existing phenomena ; to depict the distinc- 
tive fates of nations in unborn generations ; and to fix, 
with the utmost definiteness, centuries beforehand, the 
time and place of our Lord's appearance, his birth, 
manner of life, sufferings, death, resurrection and 
glory ; the abolition of the Jewish polity ; the spread 
and corruptions of Christianity : — argues a penetration 
to which the unassisted faculties of the human mind 
cannot, under any circumstances, pretend — the opera- 
tion of a prescience absolutely divine. With respect 
to the prophets themselves and those among whom 
they lived, the events which they foretold were per- 
fectly contingent. It was neither in their power to 
contribute, in the smallest degree, to their occurrence, 
nor, by any conjecture or presentiment, to anticipate 
them. To foresee and reveal them belonged to Him 
alone in whose hand are the reins of universal govern- 
ment, to whom is known the whole series of future 
events, and who executes all things according to the 
counsel of his own will. 

Taking now for granted the reality of the predic- 
tions contained in Scripture, i. e. that they were actu- 
ally delivered at the time assigned to them, the Divine 
inspiration of the records, in which they are deposited, 
follows as a necessary consequence. For it is evident 
they were not delivered merely for the benefit of those 
who lived at the time, but to guide the views, sustain 
the hopes, and strengthen the faith of the church 
between the period of their announcement, and that in 


which their fulfilment should transpire ; and, specially, 
to furnish to those who should witness their comple- 
tion, and to all future generations, the most convincing 
evidence of the truth of Divine Revelation. But it is 
equally manifest, that they could not have answered 
these ends, if they had not been infallibly committed 
to a medium of transmission, by which the certain 
knowledge of them would be supplied in all coming 
time. The discussions which have arisen on the sub- 
ject of prophecy, evince the importance of the utmost 
accuracy : — a trifling variation in a date, an historical 
circumstance, or any other part of a prediction, fre- 
quently involving consequences highly momentous in 
its interpretation, and dangerous in its application to 
actual events. 

It is therefore most reasonable to conclude, that 
He by whose inspiration the prophecies were origi- 
nally announced, must have exerted such a degree of 
supernatural influence upon the minds of those by 
whom they were committed to writing, as secured 
their faithful deposition in the form in which they 
have come into our hands. 

The support derived to our argument from the cha- 
racter, circumstances, and compositions of the writer? 
of the New Testament is equally powerful and satis- 
factory. It is impossible carefully to examine the 
accounts which these writers ingenuously furnish re- 
specting their previous habits, prejudices, and expec- 
tations, and then candidly to contrast with these their 
subsequent spirit and demeanour, the peculiarity of 
the new principles which they taught, and the exten- 
sive influence which they exerted upon the state of 


human aiFairs, without admitting that they had become 
the subjects of an inspiration in harmony with the 
effects which it produced — an inspiration superhuman, 
holy, and divine. How otherwise can we account for 
the fact, that persons of ordinary talent, untutored in 
the schools of philosophy, dull of apprehension, pusil- 
lanimous in spirit, narrow in their opinions, secular in 
their hopes, and strongly imbued with national pre- 
possessions, should all at once have displayed the most 
extraordinary mental energy, a superiority to every 
earthly consideration, a profound acquaintance with 
truths of the most sublime character, and of the deepest 
interest to the whole human species, and an expansion 
of benevolence, which embraced every nation and 
every human being on the face of the globe ? To the 
operation of what causes within the compass of those 
principles of action which govern mankind, are we 
to ascribe the sudden and entire transformation under- 
gone by the plain, illiterate fishermen of Galilee, 
and the bigoted and zealous disciple of Gamaliel? 
Assuredly they were the most unlikely persons in the 
world to embrace the spiritual, catholic, and universal 
views of religious truth, to the propagation of which 
they forthwith and ever after devoted their lives ; or, 
having embraced them, to succeed in procuring for 
them any degree of approbation or extent of currency 
among those to whose attention they recommended 
them. All the phenomena of the case are precisely 
the reverse of any thing we should have expected to 
result from their character, and from the circum- 
stances in which they were placed : and we are 
irresistibly led to the conclusion, that they were 


supernatu rally qualified — having had imparted to 
them that immediate divine instruction, and the 
ability to communicate this instruction to others, 
which their high commission as the legates of Christ 
indispensably required. 

But as they were the chosen instruments of Jehovah 
in making the final disclosures of his will to mankind, 
and as it was of the highest importance that these dis- 
closures should be preserved unimpaired in integrity 
and undiminished in authority — being the charter of 
the new constitution of religion, which was established 
by the Messiah, and is to remain valid till the end of 
time — it is natural to infer, that the documents in 
which they were deposited must have been furnished 
with the seal of their great Author, and thus be en- 
titled to claim for themselves the most unqualified 
reception as the oracles of God. If the apostles re- 
quired supernatural influence when engaged in im- 
parting oral instruction respecting the doctrines and 
laws of Christ to those among whom they laboured, it 
must have been at least equally necessary for them 
when performing the task of registering these divine 
institutions for the benefit of future ages. In the 
former case, their communications terminated on a 
limited number of persons, most of Avhom had oppor- 
tunities of repeatedly listening to the truth from their 
lips : in the latter, their statements were designed to 
tell on all succeeding generations of mankind. On 
the supposition, that their writings are not inspired, 
we possess no certain divine rule of Christian faith. 
We may peruse these writings as the productions of 
honest, well-meaning men, who were sincerely attached 


to their Master, and zealous for the interests of his 
kingdom ; and we may derive edification from the 
perusal of them, just as we do from other human 
productions written on the same subjects: but, it is 
evident, we should not be influenced by them in the 
way of authority beyond the power of moral evidence, 
T\-hich the truths they teach bring along with them. 
Nothing contained in them could possibly come home 
to us with the force of Divine law. If indisposed to 
receive the testimony, either as to the doctrines or 
the facts which it exhibits, we should only have to 
call in question the knowledge, the judgment, or the 
accuracy of the writers ; and opposing our own opi- 
nions, as founded on the principles of what we might 
deem a sounder and more liberal philosophy, to those 
which they entertained in a remote and barbarous age, 
we should feel ourselves at perfect liberty to deal with 
them according to the dictates of individual conceit or 
caprice. There would be no entire and unreserved 
submission of the understanding to their dicta as au- 
thoritative announcements of the will of God. 

The intrinsic character, however, of these docu- 
ments is such, that, viewed apart from all positive 
testimony to the inspiration of the writers, it furnishes 
a powerful presumptive argument in favour of their 
divine original. The very form and disposition of the 
materials — so unlike that which the wisdom of man 
would have selected, yet so admirably adapted to arrest 
the attention, convince the judgment, and win the 
heart ; the perfectly unsystematic and practical manner 
in which didactic truth is exhibited ; the plenitude of 
moral instruction with which every part of the history 


is charged ; the one grand leading purpose, which they 
constantly keep in view, and to which, how diversified 
and minute soever their subordinate points, every thing 
is laid under contribution ; the striking harmony, 
which, without the smallest marks of concert or imita- 
tion, is found to pervade them ; the infinite ease with 
which subjects of the loftiest character are stated and 
enforced ; the total absence of every thing like effort 
or colouring ; the want of emotion, seemingly border- 
ing on insensibility, which marks those narrative por- 
tions, the scenes depicted in which were calculated to 
call forth the most impassioned description and appeal ; 
the confident assurance and high tone of authority 
every where evinced ; — these and other characteristics, 
that might be enumerated, advance on behalf of the 
instruments to which they attach, claims that can be 
advanced in favour of no work of merely human origin, 
and naturally dispose the mind to ascribe to their 
composition the operation of a divine influence, con- 
trolling, directing, and assisting the writers, so as to 
secure the infallible communication of the results con- 
tained in them. 

Nor must the excellence of the doctrines and pre- 
cepts contained in the Apostolic writings be left out of 
the account: for though objections have been taken 
against constituting this a direct or positive proof of 
the inspiration of the writers, on the ground that there 
are other books, which advance no such claim, but are 
nevertheless remarkable for the excellence of their 
contents; yet, when we reflect on the superior and 
unparalleled degree of the excellence in question, and 
contrast with this the native character, education. 


habits, and abilities of the writers, it cannot be con- 
ceived how it was possible for them to attain to such 
an elevation, without the intervention of supernatural 
influence. They could not have reached it by the 
improvement of any natural means, to which they had 
access. Those pure and exalted ideas of the Divine 
Being and attributes ; those lucid exhibitions of the 
principles of the Divine government ; those impressive 
views of the turpitude of moral evil; those develop- 
ments of the eternal purposes of Jehovah ; those 
testimonies to the infinite dignity, the all-suflicient 
propitiation, and the continued effectual mediation of 
the Son of God; those promises of gracious and 
efficient aid on the part of the Holy Spirit ; those strict 
and impartial yet reasonable rules of morality ; those 
motives to the practice of piety ; those supports under 
the trials and sufferings of life ; those antidotes against 
the fear of death ; those clear and definite statements 
respecting the immortality of the soul, the resurrection 
of the body, and the opposite states of eternal enjoy- 
ment and suffering, with which their compositions 
abound, were such as they could have deduced from 
no existing school either in the Jewish or Pagan 
world. With respect to the Heathen philosophers, 
how speculative, defective, and erroneous were their 
choicest descriptions of Deity ! How dark and inco- 
herent their views of the government of the world ! 
How slight and superficial their rules of morality ! 
How profound their ignorance on the paramount 
subject of pardon and acceptance with God ! How 
uncertain, vague, and inconsistent their reasonings 
respecting the immortality of the soul, and a future 


State of retribution ! Then as it regards the Jews, 
at what a low ebb was theology among that people at 
the time ! How selfish and unworthy the conceptions 
entertained by the Pharisees respecting the character 
and providence of God ! How blind to the spirituality 
of his law ! How inflated with proud notions of their 
own merit, and confidence in the Divine favour ! To 
the sect of the Sadducees, it were equally vain to look 
for a solution of the problem. Nor should we prove 
more successful, were we to compare the matter of 
apostolic teaching with the tenets of the Essenes — the 
only remaining religious section of Judaism. Distin- 
guished as that portion of the community was by 
simplicity of habits, rigidity of morals, and strict 
observance of the services of religion — there is no 
evidence by which it can be proved, that its members 
held any of the peculiar principles of the Christian 
system, or that any intercourse subsisted between 
them and the Founder of that system, or his disciples, 
out of which these peculiar principles might gradually 
have sprung. 

It may be alleged, that the principles which we have 
enumerated were already laid down in the Old Testa- 
ment, and that it was only necessary for the apostles 
to study those religious records in order to construct 
from them the more matured system of belief contained 
in their writings. But to this it is sufficient to reply, 
that, while it is readily admitted that these religious 
truths are taught in the ancient Scriptures of the 
Jews, yet it is certain they are found there only in 
the germ. The light, which shines in them, is not 
that of the day, or the day-star, but obscure, like that 


of a lantern shining in a dark place. (2 Pet. i. 19.) 
Now is it supposable, that the apostles were so far in 
advance of their age and nation, as to be capable, by 
their own native abilities, to evolve, with so much 
clearness and force, from this common source, what 
lay undiscovered by their contemporaries ? Would it 
not argue the greatest credulity to believe, that indivi- 
duals of their rank in life and their general habits 
could be at all qualified, in the unassisted use of their 
own faculties, to seize the existing materials of theology, 
and work them into the admirable, consistent, matured, 
and perfect forms in which they are found in their 
writings ? They were proverbially " slow of heart to 
believe all that the prophets" had spoken respecting 
the Messiah and his kingdom. (Luke xxiv. 25.) Their 
understanding was shut against the entrance of the 
truths which had formerly been revealed respecting 
these important subjects. What they have written, 
therefore, must be referred to a higlier influence ; and, 
being the result of such influence, must be received as 

It may be objected to the necessary inspiration of 
the Gospels, that, since they contain nothing but what 
was taught by Christ, or witnessed by his apostles, 
those by whom they were written were perfectly com- 
petent to describe them afterwards from memory. 
But the persons who make this objection cannot have 
maturely reflected on the feet, that, with all their 
honesty and fidelity, these witnesses never could have 
been able, after the lapse of fifty, twenty, or even ten 
years, to give an accurate account of lengthened dis- 
courses, which they were ill prepared to understand. 


and which in fact they but partially understood at the 
time they were delivered. They took no notes on the 
spot: they had no documents from which to draw, 
or by which to refresh their memories. Yet with what 
minuteness and exactitude are the precise words of the 
Saviour recorded ! — words which, from their singu- 
larity, their significance, their point, could only have 
been employed by such a teacher as Jesus, and could 
not, by any possibility, have been invented by the 
historians themselves. For instance, how could they 
have given the discourse on the Mount, or that which 
our Lord delivered immediately before his apprehen- 
sion by the Jews, if they had not been the subjects of 
supernatural aid ? Had they been left to themselves, 
or had not their minds been invigorated by direct 
supernatural influence, they could not have failed to 
forget some parts of their Master's instructions alto- 
gether, and blend ideas or views of their own with 
their accounts of the doctrines which he delivered. 

A third presumptive argument in favour of the 
divine inspiration of the Scriptures, is furnished by 
the miracles which were wrought by Moses and the 
apostles, who either wrote these Scriptures, or gave 
their sanction to them as divine. It would be alto- 
gether out of place here to enter into any discussion 
of the question of miracles generally, either as it 
respects their reality, or the evidence, which, on the 
supposition of such reality, they afford in attestation 
of the divine commission of those by whom they were 
performed. These are points which have been satis- 
factorily disposed of by those who have professedly 


entered the lists with deistical writers, and by others 
\vho have treated of them as they incidentally came in 
their way. The aspect under which w^e now consider 
the miracles, regards the support which they yield to 
the doctrine of inspiration. That they afford any 
direct support has been denied. Dr. Woods, in his 
valuable Lectures on Inspiration, asserts, that " miracles 
furnish no dir^ect or certain proof, that those Avho 
perform them are under divine inspiration."^ He 
allows, indeed, that they prove their commission, but 
he considers their inspiration to depend on the nature 
of that commission. Now it wall not be denied, that 
miracles wrought by insj^ired persons do not diiectly 
attest the fact of such inspiration, if by direct attesta- 
tion be meant, that they w^ere wrought specifically or 
exclusively with the view of attesting the divine 
authority of their wa^itings. With respect to the 
miracles performed by Moses, it is clear, they were not 
immediately designed to vindicate to his writings the 
claims of inspiration. He does not appear to have 
wrought any of them with this view. Their great 
design w^as to prove, that he was a Divine Legate; 
that he stood in a supernatural relation to Jehovah ; 
and, as they were in themselves calculated to impress 
the mind with a sense of the Almighty power of that 
Being, to whose interposition alone they were referable, 
so they were, in the highest degree, fitted to excite 
attention to those communications, w^hich he might be 
pleased to make through the instrumentality in con- 
nection with which they were performed. We accord- 
ingly find Moses repeatedly appealing to the mighty 

(1) Lectures on the Inspiration of the Scriptures, p. 15. 


deeds which the Lord had achieved, when he is inctil- 
cating the precepts which he had received to deliver 
to the people* Now it was impossible for them not 
to combine in their minds with the idea of the achieve- 
ment of these deeds, that of the agency of Moses, at 
whose instance they had seen them eifected. Nothing 
could be more natural than the conclusion, that they 
were bound implicitly to believe whatever doctrines 
he might propound to them. Nor was this obligation 
restricted to any particular mode of delivery. It was 
their duty to attend to his written instructions, just as 
much as it was to attend to the verbal messages, which 
he delivered from the mouth of God. 

On the same principle, the design of the miracles 
wrought by the apostles was to accredit them generally 
as teachers sent from God, and to fix the seal of heaven 
to whatever they might teach in his name. But, in 
writing the documents which we have from their pens, 
they were discharging the office of divinely commis- 
sioned teachers, just as much as when they taught and 
preached Jesus Christ by word of mouth. If, when 
communicating oral instruction on the doctrines or 
precepts of the gospel, they were warranted to appeal 
to the mh-aculous gifts with which they were endowed, 
on what principle can it consistently be maintained, 
that, when committing the same things to writing, in 
order to their being transmitted to some distant church, 
or published for the benefit of Christians generally, 
they were debarred from making a similar appeal ? 
Are we to supj^ose that they forewent the use of the 
credentials thus furnished them, when they performed 
the task of scribes? Does not the apostle directly 



appeal to his power of inflicting miraculous chastisement 
on the church at Corinth, when he asserts, in writing, 
his high commission ? — " Now some are puffed up, as 
" though I would not come to you. But I will come 
" to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not 
" the speech of them which are puffed up, but the 
** power. For the kingdom of God is not in word, but 
" in power. "What will ye ? Shall I come unto you 
." with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness ?" 
(1 Cor. iv. 18 — 21.) Does he not equally appeal to 
his miraculous power, as that by which the authority 
of his epistles was to be estimated ? " Do ye look on 
*' things after the outward appearance ? If any man 
" trust to himself, that he is Christ's, let him of himself 
*' think this again, that, as he Is Christ's, even so we 
^' are Christ's. For though I should boast somewhat 
" more of our authority, which the Lord hath given 
*' us for edification, and not for your destruction, 
*' I should not be ashamed : that I may not seem as if 
" I would terrify you by letters. For his letters, say 
*' they, are weighty and powerful ; but his bodily 
^ presence is weak, and his speech contemptible. Let 
" such an one think this, that, such as we are in word 
*' by letters, when we are absent, such will we be also 
" in deed, when we are present." (2 Cor. x. 7 — 11.) 
In the last of these verses, he attaches precisely the 
same -degree of authority to his epistles that he does 
to his personal ministry, in the exercise of which he 
takes it for granted, that he would exert a miraculous 
influence. The deed (epyoy) which he here opposes 
to word (Xoyog) is evidently a miracle : for in this 
acceptation it is usually to be taken, when the terms 


are thus contrasted in the New Testament. Now the 
Corinthians had already been furnished with proofs of 
the divine commission hekl by Paul. " Truly," he 
says, " the signs of an apostle were wrought among 
" you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty 
" deeds," (2 Cor. xii. 12) ; where it is to be observed, he 
employs the term sign {rxrifxtla) in a twofold sense: — 
first, in that of evidence or proof — that by which any 
person is shown actually to sustain the character to 
which he pretends, or really to hold the commission 
with which he professes to be vested. By prefixing 
the article to the word apostle, rd arifxeia rov cnroaToXov, 
a peculiar degree of emphasis is given to it : — the 
proofs of a true apostle. Such Paul had exhibited in 
the signal instances of miraculous agency, which had 
been exercised by him during his abode at Corinth, 
to which he here specifically refers, and in character- 
ising which he further employs the term ariiJis~ia in the 
sense of a miracle, or supernatural operation. On the 
ground, therefore, of the vouchers of the apostolic 
authority, with which they had been abundantly sup- 
plied, the members of that church were bound to 
submit to the instructions transmitted to them by 
letter from the apostle, with the same readiness, and 
the same religious deference, which they had evinced 
in receiving his oral testimony. The displays of 
divine interposition, which accompanied the exercise 
of the apostolic ministry, operated in the way of sanc- 
tion and evidence upon every act of that ministry. 
They accredited the apostles as instruments specially 
employed by Christ in making known his will, in 
whatever manner they divulged it. Their influence,. 


in this respect, was universal ; extending to all the 
apostles wrote for the benefit of the church, and to 
all that they taught in the way of oral communi- 

Nor is the proof of inspiration afforded by miracles 
to be confined to that of the books written by those 
who performed these miracles: it is also valid in its 
bearing upon other books or writings, which they may 
have sanctioned as divine. If, for example, any of 
the apostles are found to ascribe divine authority to 
the Old Testament Scriptures, such testimony must 
be received as decisive, on the ground of the evidence 
which they furnished of a divine commission, by the 
supernatural gifts with which they were endowed, and 
which they exercised in effecting results not to be 
accounted for on any principle of natural causation. 
Declarations made by them in the course of the dis- 
charge of their official duties, claiming for the Jewish 
Scriptures an unqualified reception as the word of 
God, are to be sacredly regarded in the light of 
authoritative proofs of the inspiration of these Scrip- 
tures : in other words, that they were written under 
the special direction and aid of the Divine Spirit. 
In like manner, the sanction given by one apostle to 
the writings of another, or to any other writing forming 
part of the New Testament Canon, is to be viewed as 
a prioyd settling the point of the Divine authority of 
such writings. But we shall afterwards have occasion 
to enter more fully into this aspect of the subject. 

The last proof of a presumptive nature which we 
shall adduce, is the original reception of the books of 


Scripture as inspired writings by the Jewish and 
Christian churches. 

That the Pentateuch has been in the possession of 
the Jewish people from the time of Moses is an histo- 
rical fact, which cannot, with any show of reason, be 
contradicted. Attempts have been made, indeed, by 
De Wette,^ Gesenius,^ and other German writers, to 
bring down its antiquity parily to the time of the 
Jewish monarchy, and partly to that of the captivity ; 
but the arguments, by which Eichhorn,^ Jahn,* and 
Rosenmiiller,^ have refuted their positions, triumph- 
antly vindicate its Mosaic origin ; and those which 
have been employed by Graves^ and Marsh ^ in our 
own country, not only go to prove the same point, but 
furnish strong collateral proofs of the divine inspiration 
of the writer. Not only is the volume recognised as 
sacred, after and in the time of the exile, but it is 
repeatedly appealed to as of divine authority in a 
chain of testimonies from that period, back to the days 
of Joshua, the immediate successor of Moses. In 
these testimonies, it is expressly spoken of as "the 
Law of Moses," " the Book of the Law of Moses," and 
" the Book of the Law of God." But is it for a 
moment to be imagined, that it ever could have been 
imJDOsed upon the Jewish people, if it had not been 
delivered to them, under the peculiar circumstances 

(1) Lehrbuch der Histor. Krit. Einleitungin dieBibel,! Theil. § 158, p. 228. 

(2) Geschichte der Hebr. Sprache und Schrift, pp. 19, 23. 

(3) Einleitung, §432— §445. (4) Einleitung, 2 Tbeil, § 1 — § 22. 

(5) Scholia. Prolegom. § 5. See also Hengstenberg's Contributions, ii. and 
iii. volumes; and especially Havernick's admirable Introduction to the Old 
Testament, vol. i. 

(6) Lectures on the Four Last Books of the Pentateuch. 

(7) Authenticity of the Five Books of Moses. 


which it describes as accompanying its reception ? If 
they had not enjoyed ocular demonstration of the 
divine legation of Moses, they never would have sub- 
mitted to the restraints of the institutions contained in 
the Mosaic code. In the pride of their hearts, they 
would have rejected with contempt the humiliating 
description given of them as a nation ; and for ever 
consigned to oblivion a record, which, while it repre- 
sented them as having been from the commencement 
entirely destitute of merit, denounced the most awful 
judgments of the Almighty against their anticipated 
crimes. In opposition, however, to all those corrupt 
principles which must have disposed them to repudiate 
the inspired claims of the books written by their legis- 
lator, they were compelled by irresistible evidence — 
evidence carrying with it the force of mathematical 
demonstration — fully to admit them, and adopt the 
laws, civil, ceremonial, and moral, which they contained, 
as the rule of their future conduct. Notwithstanding 
their natural aversion to the holiness of the religion 
inculcated by Moses, they became its faithful deposita- 
ries, in the assured conviction that God was its author; 
and, although they were often seduced to a course of 
action at variance with its requirements, they never 
attempted to raise any historical doubts by which to 
suppress the painful feelings, which a sense of guilt 
must have inspired. Their written code continued to 
be the burden of their songs, and the legacy, which, 
from one generation to another, they bequeathed to 
their children. The other books of the Old Testament 
were successively received into the collection of sacred 
writings — being attested as the productions of men 


actuated by the Spirit of God, and designed for pur- 
poses of general and permanent instruction. From 
the Jewish church, by which they had been religiously 
preserved, these writings were received by the first 
Christians, who had the direct sanction of Christ and 
his apostles, in corroboration of their divine authority. 

The books of the New Testament having been 
written to individuals, or to individual churches in 
different places, some time elapsed before a complete 
collection of them was obtained, and consequently 
before any appeal could be made to them collectively, 
as divinely inspired. But whenever they are quoted 
separately, the reference is obviously made to them as 
writings possessing more than human authority, and, 
in this respect, differing from all other works ; and 
when collected, after their claims and those of other 
books pretending to inspiration had been thoroughly 
sifted, they are spoken of in the identical language 
that was employed respecting the scriptures of the 
Old Testament, with which they were placed upon 
a level, and along with which they were read in the 
public assemblies of the Christians. They are called : 
The Divine Gospels, the Scriptures of the Lord, the 
Oracles of the Lord, the Holy Scriptures, Divine 

Now those who spoke of them in these exalted 
terms, and who regarded them with sacred veneration, 
were not individuals of little note, destitute of critical 
judgment, or removed to such a distance, in point 
either of time or place, from the sources to which they 
are to be traced, as to create doubts of their compe- 
tency to appear as witnesses in the case; but men of 


information, who diligently investigated the claims of 
these Scriptures, and only received them on the con- 
viction, that they were the genuine productions of those 
whose names they bear, and to whom, on indisputable 
grounds, they were compelled to ascribe a divine com- 
mission. While they repudiated the claims of the 
numerous apocryphal gospels and epistles, which were 
attempted to be palmed upon the world as the produc- 
tions of apostles or apostolic men, they admitted those 
which compose our canon as entitled to implicit recep- 
tion. The very circumstance, that some of the books 
were not at first universally received, proves the 
extreme scrupulosity with which their claims were 
weighed, and that no writings were received as inspired, 
which did not possess indubitable marks of apostolicity. 
Nor must we omit adverting to the corroboration of 
this exalted and sacred estimate of these books, which 
is afforded by the light in which they were viewed by 
the early heretics. It was obviously the interest of 
those who opposed the truths taught in the apostolic 
writings, to endeavour to bring them into discredit, 
by denying their authority, and rejecting the evidence 
which they might furnish contrary to their favourite 
tenets ; but, if we except one or two, who had the 
effrontery to mutilate the Scriptures, and practise 
forgeries, in order to procure support to their peculiar 
views, and of whom no account is made by any who 
impartially study the records of ecclesiastical history, 
it will be found, that the heretics unanimously admitted 
the claims of the New Testament, and, equally with 
the orthodox, appealed to it as an ultimate rule of 
decision in all matters of religious controversy. The 


question between them was not ; What books are of 
divine authority? but, What is the testimony of the 
canonical Scriptures in reference to the subjects in 
dispute ? 

From these circumstances, a presumption is created 
in the mind, that the books of the New Testament 
must, from the very period of their publication, have 
obtained a reception very different from that given to 
any works of mere human composition, and that this 
reception is to be ascribed to the evidence which 
accompanied them, that they were of divine origin. 
The tone of authority with which they spoke was 
found to be perfectly supported by external criteria. 
The links of the chain, which connected those who 
received them during the three first centuries with the 
churches to which they were originally delivered, or 
the individual Christians to whom they were addressed, 
were so few, that it was easy to trace them up to the 
circumstances under which they were written, and 
the persons by whom they were penned ; and the con- 
current enlightened testimony of all who flourished 
during the intervening period, ascribing their compo- 
sition to men who experienced an extraordinary inter- 
vention of the Deity; it was impossible, comparing this 
external evidence with the intrinsic characteristics of 
the books themselves, to withhold a rational assent 
from them as divinely authenticated. 

Without anticipating what will more properly come 
to be considered under the head of the Canon of 
Inspiration, we may remark in conclusion, that the 
Romanists cannot, with any shadow of reason, main- 
tain, that our appeal to the Fathers in proof of the 


reception given by the primitive cliurch to the books 
of Scripture is an admission of their dogma of tradi- 
tion, or that we are entirely beholden to tradition for 
the Scriptures. It was avowed, indeed, by Augustine : 
" Evangelio non crederem, nisi me ecclesiae moveret 
autoritas ;" but it is obvious from the connection, that 
he did not mean by autoritas the mere delivery of an 
opinion, which, as announced by the church, every one 
was bound to receive ; but the testimony, which she 
bore to the simple matter of fact, that such and such 
books were originally committed to her charge. Her 
authority is not that of a Judge definitively pronounc- 
ing upon the matter in point of law, but the evidence, 
which, in the character of a witness, she honestly and 
unhesitatingly gives at the bar of reason. She does 
not, like the church of Rome, arrogate to herself the 
right to stamp divinity on any book or number of 
books ; all she pretends to is to convey down the testi- 
mony — a testimony corroborated by abundant evidences 
both of an internal nature furnished by the books 
themselves, and those Mdiich are external, arising from 
the versions, and from the admissions of heretics and 
pagans, by whom, in various forms, Christianity was 
attacked at a very early period. It is with the worst 
possible grace that the western church presses us on 
this point, since it is a notorious fact, that her tradition 
is any thing but fixed and determinate. At first, for 
instance, she received the Epistle to the Hebrews into 
her canon ; afterwards rejected it ; and, at a subse- 
quent period, restored it again to its place ! Besides, 
we require not so much as her testimony on the subject. 
We might, leave her witnesses altogether out of the 


account. Those furnished by members of the Greek 
and other churches are quite sufficient for our purpose ; 
and we admit them to give testimony, not in the charac- 
ter of members belonging to any particular church or 
churches, or in any ecclesiastical capacity whatever, 
but simply as persons worthy of credit, and competent 
to avouch the truth of this, as of any other matter in 
the history of literature, with which they were ac- 
quainted. If the Church of Rome had never existed, 
the Christian world would possess precisely the same 
number of sacred books which it now does. The 
Epistle addressed to the church at Rome would have 
reached us in the same way as that addressed to the 
church at Corinth. 

We, therefore, take our ground in primitive times, 
anterior to the rise of that system of sacerdotal power, 
which assumes as its exclusive prerogative, the title 
of " The Church." We receive the depositions of the 
witnesses in regard to the actual fact of the case in 
their day ; and, taking into consideration all the cir- 
cumstances under which they aver, that the Scriptures 
Avere written by men under the influence of divine 
inspiration, we are compelled to admit the high proba- 
bility, that such was actually the case. The positive 
evidence of such inspiration will be adduced in our 
next Lecture. 



2 TIM. III. 16, 17. 

"All Scriphire is given hy inspiration of God, and is 
profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for 
instruction in righteousness : that the man of God may 
he perfect, throughly furnished unto all good ivorhsr 

Having, in the foregoing Lecture, adduced some of 
those probable arguments which go to prove that the 
Scriptures are of divine inspiration, we now proceed 
to investigate the statements advanced in these Scrip- 
tures themselves in reference to the subject, by which 
we are furnished with evidence of the positive and 
direct kind. 

It must be obvious, that nothing short of this descrip- 
tion of evidence can form a proper basis of positive 
religious faith. The arguments which have occupied 
our attention may go far towards removing doubts 
from the mind, and preparing it carefully and consci- 
entiously to prosecute the study of the doctrine, and 
impartially to receive whatever farther light may be 
thrown upon it ; but it is not their design, as it is not 


within their province, to impart a perfect conviction 
of its truth, or give to it such a lodgment in the soul, 
as shall inspire an unhesitating reliance upon the 
testimony of the Bible as the sure and infallible word 
of God. This conviction can only be produced by 
evidence, which positively evinces, that the persons 
by whom the Scriptures were written were in actual 
correspondence with the Deity ; that they wrote by 
his direction and assistance ; or, that what they have 
delivered to us possesses his sanction as an infallible 
rule of faith. Except these points be made good, we 
shall never be practically influenced by their writings, 
but shall feel more or less at liberty to treat them as 
we do standards of mere human fiibrication — assenting 
to them or departing from them, as may best accord 
with our own previous notions of truth and duty. 

It has been customary, without any preliminary or 
qualifying consideration, to maintain, that the doctrine 
of inspiration is to be received simply on the declara- 
tions of those by whom the Scriptures were written; — 
that they were infallible, and consequently if they have 
expressly affirmed, that they were the subjects of such 
extraordinary divine influence as the term inspiration 
implies, we are bound, without any further inquiry, to 
abide by their testimony. On this ground, the doctrine 
is supposed to possess all the authority of a direct 
divine sanction ; and to press for furtlier evidence is 
deemed unwarrantable, if not profane. But it must 
be evident to every one, who takes a more minute 
view of the subject, that, to say the least, this is merely 
to beg the question. It is taking for granted the very 
point to be proved. It amounts in effect to nothing 


more than this : the Bible is inspired, because those 
who wrote it declare that thej were inspired — a state- 
ment, however, which is bv no means universally true ; 
for though it may be shown, that some of the writer^; 
do advance such a claim, it by no means holds true of 
them all. We may argue a p7'io7'i in support of the 
question, and may establish positions in reference to 
it, which it might be difficult to overturn ; but with 
persons of reflecting minds, the inquiry will still 
return : — What positive grounds have we for believing, 
that the authors of the books of Scripture really were 
inspired to write them ? — or, in other words, that these 
books possess a plenary divine sanction ? 

In such a view of the case, the only fair and satis- 
factory process to be pursued is to narrow the question 
within certain definite limits, and endeavour to ascer- 
tain whether any primary basis can be found, on 
which it may rest, undisturbed by the attacks of 
scepticism and unbelief. Now it appears to us, that 
there is only one position, which, in the first instance, 
we can safely and fearlessly occupy, and within the 
limits of which we must primarily concentrate our 
forces, if we would not expose ourselves to the reproach 
of inconsistency, or surrender the truth into the hands 
of its adversaries. That position is the authority/ of 
the Son of God, which none can consistently call in 
question, who does not reject the entire mass of histo- 
rical and moral evidence by which his mission and the 
religion which he founded, are immovably supported. 
If it can be proved, that the Lord Jesus Christ has 
attributed to the Scriptures of the Old Testament the 
qualities and claims of inspiration, then we are bound 



to receive them as inspired simply on the ground of 
his declarations to that effect ; or, if he has affirmed, 
that such endowments should be vouchsafed to his 
apostles as would invest their writings with similar 
claims — we are equally bound to acquiesce in the 
decisions contained in these writings, as the infallible 
dictates of Jehovah. Whatever, as the Great Mes- 
senger sent from the Father, he has been pleased to 
reveal, it is our duty implicitly and cordially to 

In determining, however, whether our Lord imparted 
any information upon the subject or not, and if he did, 
what are the nature and amount of that information, 
we must, at the present stage of our inquiry, call in 
the testimony of those who have furnished us with 
accounts of his doctrines simply as that of honest and 
competent witnesses : — men of unimpeachable integrity, 
who had no Avorldly interest to support by giving a 
colouring to any thing he might have communicated 
on the subject; and who, to the best of their ability, 
have discharged the task which they undertook, in 
furnishing the world with a history of the principal 
events of his life, and the leading topics, which con- 
stituted the themes of his ministry. The question a.^ 
thus narrowed is purely historical. We take it up 
precisely as we would any other question in the history 
of dogmatics, and decide upon it as we would upon an 
opinion which may liave been ascribed to one of the 
ancient Fathers, or to any other religious teacher, who 
flourished in an age removed from our own. If, for 
example, we were desirous of ascertaining any par- 
ticular sentiment hehl by the German Reformer, 


respecting which he has published nothing himself, 
we should be perfectly satisfied with the testimony of 
Melanchthon, Bucer, or any other contemj^orary, who 
was intimately acquainted with him, and who may 
have declared, that he heard him deliver his views in 
the language, which he describes. Taking into con- 
sideration the character of these men, we should do 
them injustice, if we did not give entire credence to 
their testimony. On the same principle, without, in 
the least, detracting from the high claims which the 
apostles possess, and which will afterwards be allowed 
their full force in application to the subject before us, 
but regarding them now simply in the light of histo- 
rians, who faithfully tell us what they heard from the 
lips of their great Master, we are bound, except 
counter-evidence can be produced, to believe their 
report of what he taught. And though in the last 
Lecture we have expressed a decided conviction, that 
their memories w^ould not have enabled them to retain 
all that he delivered, so as to reproduce it in the 
identical order and terms in which it was originally 
spoken, av3 feel no hesitation in asserting, that they 
w^ere quite competent to give an accurate account of 
his doctrine respecting inspiration. His promise to 
furnish them with supernatural assistance was invested 
with a degree of interest too momentous for them ever 
to forget. The very words, in which it was expressed, 
must have been indelibly imprinted upon their minds. 
Proceeding, therefore, upon the assumption, that we 
are warranted to place the fullest confidence in the 
testimony of those witnesses on the point before us, 
we now advance to the investigation of these passages 


in their writings, in which the statements referred to 
are contained. In prosecuting this investigation we 
might be expected to commence with those declara- 
tions of our Saviour, which bear upon the inspiration 
of the Old Testament, and then to consider those 
which relate to that of the New Testament : and cer- 
tainly, in so far as priority of arrangement in regard 
to the books is concerned, this would be the more 
appropriate method. But as there are numerous testi- 
monies in the apostolic writings, in support of the 
inspiration of the Old Testament, we shall obviously 
gain even in point of order by first establishing that 
of the apostles, inasmuch as we shall then have it in 
our power to combine at once the testimonies borne 
by them, with those which our Lord himself delivered 
in divine authentication of the Jewish Scriptures. 

That the apostles were to be the subjects of an 
extraordinary and strictly divine assistance, by which 
they should be qualified infallibly to teach the doctrines 
and inculcate the precepts of Christianity, during the 
whole course of their future lives, was expressly and 
unequivocally promised by their Divine Master. The 
promise is as follows : " And I will pray the Father, 
" and he shall send you another Comforter, that he 
" may abide with you for ever ; even the Spirit of 
" truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it 
" seeth him noty neither knoweth him : but ye know 
" him ; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." — 
" These things have I spoken to you, being yet present 
"' with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy 
" Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he 
'' shall teach you all things, and bring all things to 


" your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto 
" you." — " But when the Comforter is come, whom 
" I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit 
" of truth, which proceeded from the Father, he shall 
" testify of me." — " I have yet many things to say 
" unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit, 
" when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide 
" you into all truth : for he shall not speak of himself; 
'•' but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak : 
" and he vdW shew you things to come. He shall 
" glorify me : for he shall receive of mine, and shall 
" shew it unto you. All things, that the Father hath, 
" are mine : therefore said T, that he shall take of 
'•'mine, and she\v it unto you." (John xi v. 16, 17 ; 
XV. 26; xvi. 12 — 15.) By the promise, thus emphati- 
cally repeated, the disciples were assured, that though 
they were now to be deprived of the presence of their 
Master, and consequently of the benefit of his personal 
instruction, they should be no losers as it regarded 
their further illumination on all points connected with 
divine truth, and those qualifications, which it was 
requisite they should possess, in order properly to 
discharge the important functions to which he had 
called them. On the contrary, he declares, that his 
departure would prove advantageous to them, inasmuch 
as it would furnish an occasion for the advent of the 
Divine Spirit in the plenitude of his miraculous gifts, 
by the reception of which they would be rendered 
superior to their own natural deficiencies, and be fully 
prepared to meet every exigency that might arise in 
the course of their apostolic ministrations. That by 
the Spirit here promised, we are to understand the 


Divine Person, who is so frequently designated by this 
term in other passages of Scripture, is evident from 
the personal attributes which our Lord predicates of 
him, and the personal acts which he was to perform. 
The language, therefore, is not metaphorical, or capable 
of being limited in its meaning so as to indicate 
nothing more than superior mental endowments, an 
extensive acquaintance with divine truth, or the 
spiritual doctrines of the gospel itself. And he is 
called "the Spirit of truth," (to 7rj/£J)^a TrJQ aXrjdeiac,) 
not in reference either to the reality of his existence, 
or the veracity of his testimony, but in designation of 
his character as the author and revealer of that which, 
in the New Testament, is emphatically styled the truth, 
i. e. the doctrines relating to the Divine plan of human 
redemption through the mediation of the Lord Jesus 
Christ. He is also called the Paraclete (o irapai^XrjToc), 
a term which has been variously rendered by the 
words Comforter^ Teacher, 3fomtor, Leader, Advo' 
catSy Helper, Adjutor, Supporter; but none of which, 
taken singly, fully expresses its import. It occurs 
only once besides in the New Testament, namely, 
1 John ii. 1, in which it is applied by the same writer 
to Christ, and describes the powerful influence which 
he employs in heaven in behalf of his people. It is a 
term very general and comprehensive in its meaning : 
embracing every kind of assistance, whether it be in 
the way of consolation, instruction, mental invigora- 
tion, support, advocacy, or any other efiicient aid. 
The sense, however, in which it is specifically to be 
taken in application to the Holy Spirit, whom our 
Lord promises to send to his disciples, is properly to 


be determined bj the adjuncts found in the connec- 
tions in which it here occurs. Now, on examinins: 
these connections, the following appear to be the prin- 
cipal features of the office which he was to sustain. 

First, As the Spirit of truth, he was to guide the 
apostles into the whole of that system of truth, with 
which it was necessary for mankind to become ac- 
(juainted in order to their full enjoyment of the bless- 
ings of salvation : odijyyffei iijudgelg irdaav Tt]i' dXijOeiav. 
(Ch. xvi. 13,) 

Secondly, Pie was to recall to their memory all the 
instructions, with which they had been favoured during 
their attendance on the ministry of our Lord, but 
which they had forgotten, or might but imperfectly 
recollect, v-ko^vi](tsi Ijidg irdvra d elTrorvfxly. (Ch.xiv. 26.) 

Thirdly, He was eifectually to teach them the mean- 
ing of those doctrines, which had been propounded to 
them by their Master, but which they had not been in 
a state rightly or fully to comprehend, together with 
all the other doctrines pertaining to the divine counsel 
and economy of grace : Ueivoq vfidg diBd^ei xdvra, k. t. X. 

Fourthly, He was to endow them with a knowledge 
of future events, so that they should be qualified to 
predict them for the information, guidance, and conso- 
lation of the church : -a epyofxeia dvayyekei vjuTiv. 
(Ch. xvi. 13.) 

Fifthly, He was specially to disclose to their view 
the dignity and excellence of the Redeemer^ imparting 
to them an accurate knowledge of his Divine Person, 
his official relations and functions, and the glorious 
results of his Mediatorial undertaking, that throuo-h 


their instrumentality, others might be brought to know, 
acknowledge, and honour him ; iiceivos sfxe doldcrei. 
(Ver. 14.) 

Sixthly, He was to confirm all that he enabled them 
to teach respecting the Messiah, by affording sensible 
demonstrations of the truth of their divine commission 
in the miracles which they performed in the name of 
Jesus, and the supernatural gifts which should accom- 
pany their ministry : jmap-vpiiaet Trepl ijjov. (Ch. xv. 26.) 

Seventhly, By means of this miraculous interposition, 
he was so to qualify the apostles, that they should bear 
ample and infallible testimony respecting all that they 
had seen and heard as personal attendants on the 
Saviour, from the commencement of his public 
ministry : koI vfisig ^e ^aprvptire, on aV dpxfJQ juer e^ov 
lare. (Ver. 27.) 

Eighthly, He was to effect all these things by means 
of an invisible, consequently a supernatural influence 
exerted upon their minds ' or in connection with their 
ministry, of which the world could have no perception, 
but which, in its results, was to leave them without 
excuse: o^o Koajnog ov ^vvarat XafDaJv, on ov Oetoptl avro, 
ov^e yii'MfTKEL avTu' vjjLelg Ce ywutaKers aiiro, on irap vfjuv 
fjiivei, Kal fV VjuTj' ecrrai. (Ch. xiv. 17.) 

Finally, He was to render them this supernatural 
assistance permanently, so that whatever light or 
ability they required at any period of their future life 
would assuredly be vouchsafed to them : i'ra fiiyrj fxed" 
vjjL^v elg Tov alwva (xiv. 16); Trap' vfTiv /jtivei. (Ver.l7.) 

Is it now possible carefully to weigh these several 
particulars, and especially to form a proper idea of the 
collective import of the character, which they were to 


impart to the apostles, without arriving at the conclu- 
sion, that, by the accomplishment of the promise here 
repeatedly made to them, they were to have all the disad- 
vantages removed, under which they naturally laboured 
in regard to the discovery and communication of Divine 
truth, and to be qualified to become the infallible 
interpreters of the will of God ? Who, that attaches 
any just or adequate meaning to language, and places 
implicit reliance on the testimony of the Son of God, 
can feel the smallest degree of hesitation in according 
to these divinely accredited messengers the most 
cordial reception, and to the 'doctrines, w^hich they 
teach, absolute submission ? Since the supernatural 
agency of which they were to be the subjects was to 
be constantly exerted while they continued through 
life to discharge the functions of the apostleship, it is 
obvious, that, in what way soever their instructions 
were to be communicated, whether orally or by 
writing, they were equally to claim an unqualified 
reception on the part of all to whom they might be 
addressed. Whatever these ambassadors of heaven 
might teach was to be received, not as the w^ord of 
men, but, as in truth, the word of God. 

That the reception of the supernatural gifts of the 
Holy Spirit, with which the apostles were to be 
favoured, w^as to stamp infallibility on all that they 
taught, their Divine Master further expressly assures 
them (John xx. 21, 22), "As the Father hath sent me, 
" even so send I you. And when he had said this, 
" he breathed on them, and saith unto them. Receive 
" ye the Holy Ghost : whose soever sins ye remit. 


" they are remitted unto them ; and whose soever sins 
" ye retain, they are retained." The commission with 
which they were to be entrusted was equally divine 
with that w^iich Christ himself had received from the 
Father. It had, in one point of view, the same object 
— the certain and infallible communication of religious 
truth to mankind. As it respects authority, their 
delegation was upon a par with his own. And, in 
order that they might not be discouraged by a sense 
of the disparity, which existed between himself and 
them with respect to qualifications for the discharge 
of the office, he once more repeats the promise, which 
lie had formerly made to them — accompanying its 
repetition with an action strikingly symbolical of the 
nature and manner of its fulfilment: irecpvarjae, he 
breathed into them. The consequence of their recep- 
tion of the supernatural influences of the Holy Spirit 
{■nrrevfia dyiov) was to be the authoritative and irre- 
versible decisions, which they would be enabled to 
give on every point connected with human salvation. 
Of the various doctrines which this momentous subject 
involves, our Lord selects one of the deepest interest — 
the pardon of sin ; leaving it to be inferred, that if 
they were endowed with power inMlibly to pronounce 
who were to be the subjects of that boon, and who 
were to be denied it, they might well be supposed to 
be qualified to teach with certainty and without any 
admixture of error, every other branch of the grand 
system of revealed truth. That, by the declaration 
here made, we are to conceive of any power delegated 
to the apostles literally and in their own persons to 
remit sin, or that any such power was to be transmitted 


tlirough them to those who succeeded them in the 
ministiy of the word, would be completely at variance 
with the whole tenor of the Bible in reference to this 
subject — such an act being uniformly vindicated to 
Jehovah as his peculiar and inalienable prerogative. 
The phraseology is nearly parallel with that wliich 
our Lord employs, when addressing Peter, as the 
representative and spokesman of the disciples (Matt. 
xvi. 19), "And I will give unto thee the keys of the 
" kingdom of heaven : and whatsoever thou shalt bind 
" on earth shall be bound in heaven ; and Avhatsoever 
" thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." 
Than this no language could more strongly express 
the plenary power with which they were to be fur- 
nished, authoritatively to announce and enforce every 
thing connected with the kingdom of heaven. What- 
ever they were to declare to be lawful, whatever they 
were to teach, permit, or constitute in the exercise of 
their apostolic functions, was to be ratified, and hold 
good with God, and consequently was to be held 
sacred by men ; and so in regard to the contrary.^ 

Another proof of the infallibility which was to 
attach to all the instructions of the apostles, is fur- 
nished by the declaration made by Christ in his 
promise to afford them every requisite assistance when 
called to defend his cause before human tribunals : 
" But Avhen they deliver you up, take no thought how 
'• or what ye shall speak : for it shall be given you in 
" that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not 
" ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father, which 
" speaketh in you." (Matt. x. 19, 20.) In this passage 

(1) Bloomfield, in loc. 


he not only selects an appropriate instance of the 
Divine aid, that would be vouchsafed to them in the 
discharge of their office — assuring them, that nothing 
should be lacking, how great soever the emergency of 
the circumstances in which they might be placed — 
but also, that, upon all occasions, they were to regard 
themselves merely as the instruments of a higher 
agent — the Divine Spirit, who should employ them as 
instruments, through whom to reveal the knowledge 
of God and his will to the human race. The 20th 
verse is evidently supplementary, and general in its 
bearing, and contains the ground of the special promise 
made in that which precedes it. The words : " It is 
not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which 
speaketh in you," contain a comparative negation. 
The apostles were to employ human language, but this 
language was not to be the mere fruit of their own 
mental operations ; it was to result from the super- 
natural influence of the Holy Spirit, prompting, 
controlling, and guiding these operations, so as to 
produce appropriate and infallible defences of divine 

The endowments in which the legates of Christ 
were to participate, and which he designates "the 
promise of the Father," because he had promised that 
the Father would bestow them, he expressly charac- 
terises as power immediately derived from heaven, 
with which they were to be invested : t)'^u(7T](Tde cvvafxiy 
U v)povg. (Luke xxiv. 49.) It was therefore to be 
strictly supernatural, and being designed fully to fit 
them for the apostolic office, must be viewed as 
extending to every department of that office. 


Of the accomplishment of the promises thus made 
to the apostles, we are furnished with abundant proof 
bj the surprising change which took place in their 
views and conduct on and after the day of Pentecost, 
and by the miraculous gifts which were then conferred 
upon them : but, as these topics have already occupied 
our attention, it is unnecessary to say more at present 
than simply to advert to them, for the purpose of sub- 
stantiating, on historical grounds, the extraordinary 
authority of their character, as the ambassadors of 
Christ, and asserting the religious deference, which is 
due to whatever statements they may have made 
relative either to the doctrines taught by our Saviour 
himself, or to those communicated through them by 
liis Spirit. Endowed with the infallible inspiration 
of this Divine Agent, they claim to be heard with 
implicit belief. The testimony, which they have borne 
in their written documents, is equally entitled to our 
reception, as that which they delivered to the audiences 
which they orally addressed, was to theirs. Both in 
speaking and in writing they acted as divinely commis- 
sioned instructors. In the former case, the result was 
more limited ; for, though it consisted in laying the 
foundation of the new state of the church, which was 
to continue till the end of time, yet the infallibility, 
that attached to their doctrines, did not extend beyond 
their oral communication. When received by those 
to whom they were delivered, these doctrines became 
liable to all the modifications and changes by which 
they have more or less been characterised in the 
confessions and writings of uninspired men from the 
apostolic age to the present. In the latter case, the 


result is permanent, and extends to all succeeding 
ages: — their writings, propagated throughout the 
world, possessing all the indubitable certainty, and all 
the infallible authority, which belonged to the narra- 
tives and doctrinal statements originally communicated 
by word of mouth to individuals or communities. 

Having thus established the infallibility of the 
apostolic teaching, we are prepared to enter upon an 
investigation of the testimony borne in the New Testa- 
ment Scriptures to the inspiration of those of the Old 
Testament, in prosecuting which, we shall first con- 
sider the amount of that furnished by our Lord himself, 
and then that of those passages in the apostolic epistles 
in which it is either expressly taught, or obviously 


And here it is important to remark, that the refer- 
ences to the Old Testament, which we find in the 
discourses of Christ, are not to be understood in appli- 
cation to the dispensation itself, which was established 
by Moses at Sinai, but to the books or writings, con- 
taining the records of that dispensation, and received 
as divine by those to whom it had been committed. 
Whatever fact he specifies, or whatever precept or 
doctrine he quotes, is uniformly to be regarded as 
embodied in the sacred Scriptures, which were then 
in the hands of the Jews, and to which he appeals as 
decidedly possessing div^ine authority. 

First, He mentions several of the writers by name, 
and ascribes to them in this capacity an authority^ 
Avliich he would not have conceded to any ordinary or 
uninspired autlior. Thus he speaks of the gift that 



Moses commanded (Matt. viii. 4) ; his ordinance 
respecting divorce (xix. 8) ; his seat, or the elevated 
place, whence his writings were read in the synagogues 
(xxiii. 2) ; his accusing the Jews (John v. 45) ; his 
law prescribing circumcision (vii. 19, 22). When 
quoting his book, he expressly designates Isaiah, " the 
prophet" (Matt. viii. 17; xii. 17); speaks of his pro- 
phesying (xv. 7), and his prophecy (xiii. 14), which he 
more than once declares was to be fulfilled. Pie 
recognises David as an inspired prophet (xxii. 43), 
and repeatedly quotes the book of Psalms (xiii. 35 ; 
xxi. 16, 42). He likewise, when referring to their 
writings, calls Daniel and Jonah prophets (xii. 30 ; 
xxiv. 15); and quotes Hosea and Zechariah (xii. 7 ; 
xxvi. 31), as furnishing the words of Jehovah. 

Secondly, He refers his hearers to the Old Testament 
Scriptures, with the question : "Have ye not read?" 
(Matt. xix. 4; xxii. 31); intimating, that, if they had 
perused them, they would have ascertained the will 
of God on the subjects respecting which they had 
interrogated him. 

Thirdly, He speaks of them as a definite collection 
of writings, an acquaintance with which would prove 
an effectual preservative against error in matters of 
religion ; and he reproves the Sadducees, who neglected 
to employ them for this purpose : " Ye do err, not 
knowing the ScrijHures, rctg ypcKpdc, nor the power of 
God." (Matt. xxii. 29.) He further ascribes to these 
Scriptures, as thus collectively existing, the power 
of imparting instruction respecting the momentous 
subject of eternal life, and himself as the w^ay to it ; 
and commends the study of them on that account : 


" Search the Scriptures, ipevi'dre rdc ypacpag, for in 
'' them ye think ye have eternal life ; and they are 
" they which testify of me." (John v. 39.) Biblical 
critics are divided, indeed, with respect to the manner 
in which the principal verb here employed is to be 
construed : — most of the ancients, and many moderns, 
rendering it in the imperative, as it is done in our own 
and almost all the received versions, while by far the 
greater number of those, who have been most distin- 
guished for critical acumen, read it in the indicative, 
which unquestionably is more agreeable to the context. 
But translated indicatively, " Ye search the Scrip- 
tures," &c., it still conveys a commendation of the 
practice; for our Lord proceeds to declare, that the 
Scriptures bore testimony to him as the Messiah ; and, 
in the course of a few verses, he expressly states, that 
Moses wrote of him in that character. From the 
circumstance, that the writings of Moses are thus 
introduced into the connection, Storr concludes,^ that 
the Scriptures mentioned, ver. 39, are necessarily to 
be restricted to those of the Pentateuch ; but this by 
no means follows. The reference to Moses and his 
writings is altogether distinct from that before made. 
Our Lord, after telling the Jews, that, notwithstanding 
their perusal of the Old Testament, which pointed to 
him as the only Saviour, they would not come to him, 
that they might have life, discloses the true cause of 
their unbelief — the preference, which they gave to 
human and worldly considerations. And lest they 
should accuse him of the intention of bringing a judi- 
cial charge against them, and thus be tlie more rivetted 

(1) Storr and Flatt's Bib. Theology, vol. i. p. 234. 


in their prejudices against him, he directs them to 
their own lawgiver, whose testimony respecting him 
was sufficiently clear to afford ground for the con- 
demnation of all who professed to receive it, and yet 
disallowed his claims to the Messiahship (ver. 45 — 47). 
On another occasion, when convincing them of the 
aggravated guilt which they contracted by rejecting 
him, he asks : " Did ye never read in the Scriptures," 
iv Ta~ig ypa<paic, and then quotes the cxviiith Psalm, 
which the ancient Rabbins interpreted of the Messiah. 
(Matt. xxi. 22.) 

Fourthly, Our Lord also repeatedly speaks of the 
Old Testament in the singular number, calling it the 
Scripture, t] ypaipr) (vii. 38, 42 ; xiii. 18 ; xvii. 12) ; 
and most peremptorily vindicates its authority as 
" the word of God," which could not be set aside or 
rendered void — consequently was, in point of religious 
obligation, binding upon all into whose hands it came : 
" Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods ? 
" If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God 
" came, and the Scripture cannot he broken, say ye," 
&c. (John X. 34 — 36.) By law, in this place, he does 
not mean the Pentateuch, but the whole of the Old 
Testament, only specifically quoting from the Psalms, 
as a part of the whole : — an idiom frequent both in 
the Scriptures and in the Kabbinical writings. And 
of this Scripture, r] ypaipr), he expressly affirms, that 
ov Bm^arai Xvdfjrai, it cannot be invalidated — its autho- 
rity cannot be called in question — it must be received 
and treated as coming from God. 

Fifthly: He further speaks of the writings of the 
Old Testament, under the designation of " the law and 


the prophets,'* 6 vufiog ol TrpoipfJTai. (Matt. vii. 12 ; 
xxii. 40. See also Luke xvi. 16 ; Acts xiii. 15 ; Rom. 
iii. 21.) That by this designation is meant the whole 
compass of the Jewish Scriptures : — these two divisions 
forming its two grand component parts — the "law" 
comprehending the five books of Moses ; and the 
" prophets," all the other books, beginning with Josbua, 
the first in the list of the prophets according to a 
classification in use among the Jews, is admitted as 
beyond dispute by all commentators. And agreeably 
to another mode of classification, he divides the books 
of the Old Testament into the " Law, the Prophets, 
and the Psalms," (Luke xxiv. 44) — the book of Psalms 
being the first of the third class, as commonly divided 
by the Jews. Now of these Scriptures our Lord, the 
great Prophet, whom they predicted, declares, that 
their Divine authority was perpetual. It was not the 
object of his advent to absolve men from their obliga- 
tions to receive the doctrines and keep the moral pre- 
cepts therein contained, or in any way to teach a less 
perfect or a superficial system of moral duty (fcaraXu^rai); 
but, on the contrary, to lead mankind into a more 
thorough and extensive acquaintance with their de- 
mands, the great designs they were given to accomplish, 
and the ratification, which they were to receive in the 
new economy about to be founded in his name 
{■TrXrjpuKTai). So far was it from being intended by 
the doctrines which he and his apostles promulgated, 
to supersede the use, or lower the claims of the 
Old Testament Scriptures, that they were only thereby 
to acquire their full significance, and be more abun- 
dantly honoured. But it cannot, for a moment, be 


supposed, that Christ would have spoken in this 
manner of any merely human writings. And indeed 
the terms, by which he designates them, imply, that 
they were of divine origin : — nothing being more 
common than the interchange of the forms " the law," 
and " the law of the Lord," as synonymous in signi- 
fication ; and the prophets having been all actuated by 
a divine impulse, whatever they committed to writing 
possessed the stamp of divine authority. 

From these and other passages which might be 
adduced from the Gospels, it is apparent, that our 
Saviour fully admitted the inspired authority of the 
entire codex received in his day as divine by the Jews 
in Palestine. The doctrine of its inspiration is not 
taught by him in so many express words ; but it is so 
clearly implied in many of his discourses, and is so 
fairly deducible from the manner in which he refers 
to it, that, on the contrary supposition, his appeals 
would lose their force, and his reasonings be rendered 
totally inapposite and nugatory. Indeed, so manifestly 
is the doctrine taught by implication in the discourses 
of our Lord, that its opponents, in order, if possible, 
to get rid of it, are compelled to adopt the hypothesis 
of accommodation : — maintaining, that, when he spoke 
in such exalted terms of the Jewish Scriptures, and 
appealed to them as divine, he did not express his 
own sentiments on the subject, but merely adapted 
himself to the opinions then prevalent among his 
contemporaries: but such a theory, being at once 
inconsistent with the integrity, and derogatory from 
the dignity of the Redeemer, violates one of the funda- 
mental rules of interpretation. It is only necessary to 


compare the doctrines which he taught with those 
which were peculiar to the Scribes and Pharisees, in 
order to perceive the contrast in which they stand to 
each other; and so far was he from succumbing to 
popular opinion, or feigning acquiescence in any of the 
erroneous views or principles of his hearers, that he 
was most pointed in their condemnation, and opposed 
his own high authority to that of the whole body of 
the Rabbins. His agreeing with them on any point 
could only be viewed as improper, on the assumption, 
that their entire system of belief was a tissue of false- 
hood and error, and merited indiscriminate reprobation. 
But that such an assumption is perfectly gratuitous, 
must be evident to all, who reflect, for a moment, on 
the facts of the case. The public teachers among the 
Jews inculcated the traditions of the elders, and, by 
so doing, virtually made the commandment of God, in 
many instances, of no effect ; but they did not avowedly 
reject the principles inculcated in the law. They 
allowed the law to occupy the place, which had ever 
been assigned to it in their peculiar constitution ; and 
only added to it certain notions or opinions of their 
own invention. That veneration for the sacred books 
of the nation was one of these cannot be proved. It 
was a duty, which, from the most ancient times, was 
considered to be binding upon them as a people : and 
was founded on the assurance, which they had, from 
well-authenticated testimony, that the books containing 
it were written by men who stood in direct communi- 
cation with Jehovah, whose Spirit prompted them to 
write, and assisted them in executing the task. This 
ascription of the Hebrew Bible to God as its author. 


our Lord sanctioned and approved, and thereby threw 
the weight of his authority as the Messiah into its 

The testimony which Christ thus bore to the divine 
claims of the Jewish Scriptures, was clearly illustrated 
by that of his apostles, when writing under the inspi- 
ration which he had promised them. Of the various 
passages which contain this testimony none is more 
celebrated than our present text (2 Tim. iii. 16, 17), 
" All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is 
" profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, 
" for instruction in righteousness : that the man of 
" God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all 
" good works." It may, indeed, be properly consi- 
dered as the principal dictum classicum to which, more 
than to any other, the supporters of the doctrine of 
inspiration have appealed; and which, in consequence, 
has also received a considerable degree of attention 
from those who have opposed that doctrine. This 
celebrity is owing partly to the occurrence of the 
Compound deoirvsvcTToSf divinely-inspired — a term which, 
as we have already seen, is not employed elsewhere 
in Scripture, but which strikingly expresses the 
quality, which is inherent in the Scriptures, as the 
result of a divine influence exerted on their composi- 
tion ; and partly to the use of the adjective all (Trdo-r/), 
which has generally been considered as predicating 
the universality of the Scripture (ypa0j7) here stated 
to be inspired. On the subject of the apostle's predi- 
cate, a wide difference of opinion has obtained. The 
ofreater number of critics and commentators consider 


it to be the Old Testament, though they are divided 
respecting the construction and the sense which is 
dependent upon it : — some comprehending under the 
term ypacprj the whole of that ancient volume, and 
others restricting it to those parts only of which they 
think dEOTTvevffTOQ may be predicated. A second class 
regard it as designating not only the inspired codex 
of the Jews, but also such of the apostolic writings as 
had then appeared; while a third class confine it 
exclusively to the latter. 

That the Scriptures of the Old Testament are 
intended, is unquestionably the construction best 
supported by the preceding context. Even on the 
supposition that no reference had previously been 
made to any specific writing or collection of writing>-=, 
it was most natural for Timothy, who had received an 
early Jewish education, of which the study of the 
Scriptures formed a prominent part, to understand 
the apostle to mean these Scriptures : — ypa(j>r}, the term 
here used in the singular number, being in common 
use in application to them, especially to any particular 
passage which might happen to be quoted. He had 
been taught to regard them as the productions of men 
who were actuated by the Spirit of God, and who 
consequently "wrote what was agreeable to his will. 
The very terminology, therefore, independently of any 
thing else, would, at once, lead his thoughts to these 
Scriptures as the collection to which reference was 
made. But the circumstance, that, in the verse imme- 
diately preceding, the apostle had expressly mentioned 
ret lepd ypa/xjuara, "the Sacred Scriptures," as those 
which Timothy had known from his earliest age, would 


seem to place the matter beyond dispute. It is in the 
closest connection with the statement there made 
respecting these Scriptures, that the subject of the 
present text is introduced ; and it is evidently intro- 
duced by way of supplement to what had been there 
taught. The train of the argument is this : Not only 
are the Divine Scriptures with which you are familiar, 
capable of furnishing you with the knowledge requisite 
for your own personal salvation, by pointing to Christ 
as their end or scope; but they altogether form 
a rich treasury of inspired wisdom, from which you 
may bring forth matter adapted to all the various 
departments of the office, with which you have been 

It cannot be denied, that a considerable proportion S 
of the books of the New Testament already existed at ' 
the time the apostle wrote these words, which is 
generally supposed to have been about the year sixty- 
five ; and it must also be admitted, that, on the suppo- 
sition that it is to these the apostle refers in the phrase 
Trdffa ypa<pr\y there would be an appropriate connection 
between what he affirms of them, and what follows in 
this and the succeeding verse. In addition to the 
Scriptures of the Old Testament, Timothy also pos- 
sessed those of the New, which were given by inspira- 
tion of the same Spirit by whom the former had been 
dictated; and being full of matter bearing more 
directly on the affairs of the Christian church, they 
might be expected to supply every information, which 
he would require as an Evangelist — every thing requi- 
site to perfect his qualifications for his sacred and 
important work. But in order to establish this con- 


struction of the passage, it must be proved, that the 
term ypa<prj, " Scripture," is to be taken here, not in 
the collective, but in an individual or distributive 
sense; and the adjective Trao-a must in this case be 
rendered " every," and not " all." But though nume- 
rous attempts have been made to justify this rendering, 
they have never succeeded. For those who translate 
the words, " Every writing is inspired of God, and 
profitable," &c., expose themselves to the absurdity of 
making the apostle affirm, that every composition 
without exception is of this high character — an 
absurdity which led some in the time of Theophylact 
to ask, " Are then the writings of the Greeks also 
inspired?"' It may be thought, this is pressing the 
words beyond what is clearly their meaning — since 
the apostle could of course intend such books only as 
were written by inspired men ; but it is evident there 
is nothing in the context that would naturally suggest 
any other writings of this description but those of the 
Old Testament mentioned in the preceding verse. 
Besides, if we except the Gospel of Matthew, two or 
three of the Pauline Epistles, and those of James and 
Peter, Timothy required no information respecting the 
inspired authority of such New Testament writings as 
had by that time been composed, since, in most of 
them, his own name is conjoined with that of Paul in 
the titles. But the adjective here employed, if taken 
in a distributive sense, obviously supposes a number 
of writings, every one of which, according to the 
proposed interpretation, laid claims to inspiration : 

(1) Zr\TOvai ie Ti'fec wSy eiTre Tldara ypaiptj Qeonvevaroi' ^Apa oiiv Kai at 
rwv 'EWr/vuv Oeotrvevffroi — Comment, in loc. 


consequently there could have been no propriety under 
the circumstances in which Timothy was placed to 
address him in such terms. In short, this construction 
of the words is so forced, that none have ventured to 
defend it, except those who have been determined, at 
all hazards, to extract from them an inspired proof of 
the inspiration of all the writings contained in the 
New Testament. 

Nor is the translation, "Every divinely -inspired 
writing is also profitable," &c., though sanctioned by 
a much more numerous class of interpreters, entitled 
to a more favourable reception. To say nothing of 
the awkwardness and total want of point introduced 
into the passage, by giving to the copulative conjunc- 
tion Kai the signification of also, which even Geddes 
allows it requires some straining to make it bear in 
this place, ^ we may remark, that such a mode of con- 
struction is at variance with a common rule of Greek 
syntax, which requires, that, when two adjectives are 
closely joined, as deoTrrevcrTog and (OipiXi/bioQ here are, 
if there be an ellipsis of the substantive verb iffrlf this 
verb must be supplied after the former of the two, and 
regarded as repeated after the latter. Now there 
exists precisely such an ellipsis in the case before us ; 
and as there is nothing in the context which would 
lead us to take any exception to the rule, we are bound 
to yield to its force, just as we would in any similar 
instance. In support of this rendering, an appeal has 
usually been made to the Syriac, Arabic, and Latin 
versions; but it is, to say the least, very doubtful 
whether these versions really convey the idea, which 

(1) Bible, vol. ii. Pref. p. xi. 


is thus endeavoured to be attached to them. With 
respect to the two former, it is well known to oriental 
scholars, that the word translated " every " is more 
properly a substantive signifying totality than an 
adjective ; while the Latin omnis is also often used for 
tota ; so that all the versions in question may as 
properly be rendered, " The whole of Scripture, which > 
is divinely inspired, is profitable," &c., as "Every 
Scripture," &c. The evidence in favour of the trans- 
lation in our common English Bible, derived from the 
Fathers, and almost all the versions, among others, the 
modern Greek, which reads oXrj, " the whole," is most 
decided. The opposite interpretation, however, was 
eagerly adopted by Semler, who, in his work on the 
canon, endeavoured to prove that the design of the 
apostle in this text is to furnish the criteria, by which 
to judge whether any work be inspired or not — namely, 
its religious and moral utility; and having, as he 
imagined, established this point, he proceeded to apply 
the principle to the books of the Old Testament, and, 
without ceremony, lopped off not fewer than eight of 
them, as, in his judgment, not possessed of the requisite 
marks of legitimacy. Most of those critics, who, like 
him, have been dissatisfied a priori with certain por- 
tions of the Jewish Scriptures, have eagerly adopted 
and perseveringly propagated his hypothesis : so that 
most of the German" divines without hesitation give it 
their suffrage. Knapp, however, Storr, and others, 
contend for the common rendering. Convinced that 
this rendering is the only correct one, we consider 
the passage as throwing an impenetrable shield 
round the sacred books of the Jews, and stamping 


every portion of them with the seal of divine 

A similar testimony, of great weight in the present 
argument, is furnished by the Apostle Peter (2 Epist. i. 
19 — 21), " We have also a more sure word of prophecy ; 
" whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a 
" light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, 
" and the day-star arise in your hearts : knowing this 
" first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any 
" private interpretation. For the prophecy came not 
" in old time by the will of man : but holy men of 
" God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." 
Having directed the attention of the elect strangers to 
whom he wrote, to the immovable foundation on which 
their faith was built, and assured them that those, to 
whom they were indebted for the knowledge of that 
foundation, had not been the dupes of credulity, but 
■witnesses of the most convincing testimony that had 
been given from heaven to the divinity of the claims 
of Christ as the Saviour of the world, the apostle, in 
contemplation of the irresistible proof which was thus 
afforded, proceeds to state, that they were thereby 
supplied with an additional confirmation of the truth 
of the Old Testament Scriptures, one of the prominent 
features of which was the chain of predictions con- 
tained in them respecting the Messiah and his kingdom. 
The prophetic Avord, rov Trpnfrjrifcop Xoyov, to which he 
refers, is not any new communications with which the 
apostles had been favoured, — in other words, New 
Testament prophecies, — an hypothesis which has been 

(1) See Note N. 


advocated by Warburton, Griesbach, and others ; nor 
the declaration made by the Father on the Mount, as 
Erasmus and Beza violently interpreted ; but the 
ancient prophetic oracles of the Jews, which, having 
been written by men under a prophetic impulse, came 
to be spoken of under the general designation of pro- 
phecy, 7rpo(j)r)Teia. These had ever been in the highest 
estimation with all who feared Jehovah. They de- 
lighted in the study of them. They believed the truth 
of their contents, though they but imperfectly under- 
stood them. But now that the most important of 
these prophecies had received their fulfilment in the 
appearance, sufferings, and glorification of the Re- 
deemer, their certainty was confirmed {j3ePai6Tepov), 
and their authority heightened in the minds of be- 
lievers. In themselves, they could receive no increase 
of certainty, being the words of Him of whom it is 
declared, " Hath he said, and shall he not do it ? or 
" hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?" 
but subjectively, or as received by men, they were 
susceptible of increasing degrees of certainty, in pro- 
portion as subsequent predictions threw light upon 
those which had previously been given, and especially 
as the events transpired to which they pointed. 

The apostle commends the diligent investigation of 
this prophetic word ; which, though, when compared 
to the sun, might be said to be only a lantern, the 
light of which but dimly discovers the objects upon 
which it shines, yet would afford certainty to all who 
availed themselves of its aid. It shed its light, com- 
paratively feeble as it was, during the dark ages which 
preceded the advent of the Messiah. That portion 


of the Christian church to whom this Epistle was 
written, being composed, for the most part, of converts 
from Judaism, had been accustomed to peruse the 
Scriptures of the Old Testament, which contained the 
prophecies ; and no doubt still continued to do so, 
after having received the Gospel. Peter exhorts them 
to adhere to the practice ; as, by that means, they 
would improve in knowledge and be preserved from 
apostasy, till the copious flood of New Testament light 
should break in upon them through the instrumentality 
of the inspired writings of the apostles of Christ. In 
all probability, their opportunities of Christian instruc- 
tion had been limited ; and perhaps this and the 
former Epistle were the only parts of the Scriptures 
of the New Covenant which many of them had yet 
seen. It was, therefore, important for them diligently 
to avail themselves of the ancient revelations, and to 
rest in the conviction, that, though they had not 
attained to the same degree of assurance with the 
apostles, who had been eye-witnesses of the accom- 
plishment of the prophecies contained in them, yet the 
time would soon arrive when they too should be made 
fully acquainted with such fulfilment by means of the 
written Gospels and Epistles, which originated in the 
influence of the same Spirit, under w^hose impulse the 
Scriptures of the Old Testament had been composed. 
In prosecuting this investigation of the prophecies, 
however, they were to lay it down as a first principle 
{tovto -KpuiTov yivojcTKovreg), from which, notwithstanding 
the obscurities in which some of them might be in- 
volved, they were never to suffer their minds to be 
moved, that they were all of divine origin. None of 


tliem was the result of mere human disclosure, or an 
interpretation of the will of God delivered by an 
unauthorized individual. The reason {yap) is obvious. 
At no time was prophecy brought in by human voli- 
tion ; on the contrary (d\Xa), it was under the impulse 
of the Holy Spirit that the holy men of God spake, by 
whom it was delivered to the church.^ 

Such appears to be the tenor and bearing of this 
confessedly difficult passage. Its bearing on the subject 
of inspiration must now be considered. By most of 
those who have employed it in support of this doctrine, 
it has been considered as furnishing one of the clearest 
and most decisive proofs to be met with in the sacred 
volume. And, unquestionably, if we simply regard the 
act of inspiration, or the exertion of supernatural 
influence on those who were the recipients of Divine 
communications, it must be confessed, that no language 
can more expressly assert such an exertion — no state- 
ment can more explicitly deny the human origin of 
tJie communications just mentioned, or more convinc- 
ingly attribute them to God as their author, than that 
which is here employed. It may, however, be objected 
to the appropriation of this language to the Old Tes- 
tament universally, that the term prophecy, which 
repeatedly occurs in the passage, necessarily restricts 
the influence in question to the predictive portions of 
that book, and that the reference is not made in any 
respect to the committal even of these prophecies to 
writing, but merely to their oral annunciation. The 
holy men of God spake as they were moved by the 
Holy Ghost. But the objection may partly be met by 

(1) See Note O. 


the remark, that, as the special subject of prophecy 
here referred to is the Messiah, and the predictions 
respecting him are not confined to the prophets strictly 
so called, but are likewise found in the writings of 
Moses, Samuel, David, and other Old Testament 
writers, any construction, which would go to exclude 
these writers, is inadmissible. And it is further to be 
observed, that whatever books of Scripture are found 
to contain prophecies written by inspired men, are to 
be regarded as divine, not merely in so far as the 
exhibition of the prophecies themselves is concerned, 
but through the entire extent of their composition ; 
inasmuch as they obviously constitute one whole, and 
every part is more or less necessary in order to furnish 
an infallible historical basis, on which the evidence of 
the several predictions may rest. For, if we separate 
the prophecies from the rest of the matter with which 
they are connected, we completely isolate them, rid 
them of their sacred character, and place them upon 
a level with the Sibylline oracles, or any other unau- 
thenticated predictions of antiquity. It is because 
they are found in the writings of those, who held a 
divine commission, and were communicated by them 
to the church of Grpd at the time, and under the cir- 
cumstances which these writings definitely specify, 
that w^e allow the authority of their claims. In this 
point of view, it is important to notice the peculiar 
phraseology employed by the apostle in the text under 
consideration. His language is not, as Erasmus inter- 
prets it : ^ no 'prophetic Scrij^ture, but Trao-a 7rpo<j)r}-eia 
y|ja0r7c, ov, k. t. \. no prophecy of Scripture, i. e. no 

{\) Nov. Test, in he. 


prophecy contained in Scripture — thus extending the 
reference to the entire code in which the Divine pre- 
dictions are deposited. Without such reference, the 
allegation would have been nugatory. And thus, 
whenever the oracular announcements of the Old 
Testament prophets are quoted by our Lord, or his 
apostles, the indisputable claims of that division of the 
sacred volume are either expressly asserted, or 
obviously assumed. Indeed it was impossible for a 
Jew to disconnect, in his own mind, the idea of a 
prophecy from that of its existence in the volume, 
which had been handed down to him from his ancestors 
as the book of God ; or rather he completely identified 
them — conceiving only of the prediction as embodied 
in the document which had served as the vehicle of its 
transmission. The former he invested with paramount 
authority, on the ground of the divine authentication 
of the latter. It is upon this principle, that Paul, 
referring to the ancient announcements, which Jehovah 
had made relative to the gospel dispensation, declares : 
" Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the 
" holy Scriptures," (Rom. i. 2,) in which passage he 
fully expresses what is implied in that now under con- 
sideration, namely, that the Scripture, in which the 
prophecies are deposited, is sacred — a term not only 
implying the destination of that of which it is predi- 
cated, but also its origin— the sacred or divine influence 
of the Holy Spirit. 

We are, therefore, warranted to maintain, that this 
passage does, to a certain extent, contain a cogent 
proof of the inspiration of the Old Testament. The 
wi"itings of which it is composed are spoken of by the 


Apostle Peter precisely in the same style as we have 
seen they are spoken of by the Apostle Paul. They 
both designate them by the collective term Scripture^ 
(ypatprj) — a term, which, from its peculiarly appro- 
priated acceptation when employed to denote the 
sacred books of the Jews, evidently invests them with 
an importance, which cannot be claimed in behalf of 
any human writings. This importance is here clearly 
recognised. But this, I conceive, is the entire amount 
of the proof which the text affords. To extend to the 
whole Scripture what the apostle specifically affirms 
of its prophecies, namely, that it is not of private 
interpretation — though true in itself and provable from 
other sources, is, in our opinion, to compel him by 
torture to give utterance to what did not, at the time, 
exist in his mind. It is of the prophetic word, or the 
prophecies universally, he predicates absolute Divine 
authority, human agency having had nothing whatever 
to do with their origination. His mention of the 
Scriptures is merely made in passing — the prophecies 
being contained in these Scriptures, as the divinely 
constituted and infallible medium of their preservation 
for the benefit of future ages. 

Another passage in which an express sanction is 
given to the inspired authority of the Old Testament 
is Rom. XV. 4, in which the apostle, after quoting from 
the Ixixth Psalm, states : " For whatsoever things 
" were written aforetime were written for our learn- 
" ing, that we, through patience and comfort of the 
" Scriptures, might have hope." We are here taught 
not merely, that such practical lessons are deducible 



from tlie ancient Jewish Scriptures, but that tliey were 
composed definitely with a view to communicate such 
instruction. And that the intention or design to which 
he refers was not that of the writers, but that of God 
himself, appears from the intimate connection of this 
and the following verse, in which, repeating the two 
benefits which he had mentioned, he expressly ascribes 
them to God as their author. They are conferred by 
the Scriptures only instrumentally : but He who is 
the true source from which they spring, so ordered it, 
that, when these Scriptures were composed, precisely 
such things were selected to form their contents as 
should subserve the edification of his people in all 
future time. No argument can more conclusively 
prove, that the books included in the Jewish canon 
were inspired. That it is to these books the apostle 
refers, is evident from his use of the appropriated term 
at ypa(l>ai, the Scriptures ; from his having just made 
a quotation from the Psalmist ; and from his assigning 
the time when the things spoken of were written, 
to a period antecedent to the introduction of the 
Christian economy. They are things that, Trpoeypdfr], 
reeve written aforetime. Nor must the universality of 
the language here employed be unnoticed. It is not 
certain parts or portions only of Scripture that were 
written by divine appointment to promote our benefit, 
but the whole, not excepting any portion whatever. 
For while the special correlative ona is most compre- 
hensive in its import, obviously conveying the idea of 
quantity or number, it, at the same time, expresses 
the minutest parts of a whole, how great soever the 
whole may be. Hence the Syriac renders the passage 



*' For every thing that was anciently wrttteuy was 
" written for our instruction." ^ A similar declaration 
relative to speciality of design is furnished, 1 Cor. x.ll : 
" Now all these things happened to them for ensamples, 
" and were written for our instruction, upon whom 
" the ends of the world are come." 

Numerous other texts might be adduced from the 
apostolic writings, in support of the doctrine of the 
inspired authority of the books of the Old Testament, 
such as those in which they are expressly called 
TO. Xoyia Tov Qeov, the oracular announcements of God ^ 
(Rom. iii. 2 ; Heb. v. 12) ; or in which they are ascribed 
to the influence of the Holy Spirit (Acts xxviii. 25 ; 
Heb. iii. 7 ; ix. 8 ; x. 15) ; but what has already been 
quoted may suffice. I would only remark, in this 
place, that so deeply were the minds of the apostles 
impressed with a sense of the importance and authority 
of these Scriptures, that, comparatively limited as their 
writings are, the Epistles and the book of the Revela- 
tion alone contain upwards of four hundred and fifty 
passages in which they are either expressly quoted, 
or marked reference is made to them ; or their 
language is employed in a way which evinces that they 
were regarded by these inspired ambassadors of Christ 
as truly of divine origin. In the Epistles of Paul 
alone, upwards of two hundred and fifty such quota- 
tions or references are found. 

Since the testimonies, which are furnished in such 

(-) A67(a. Hesych. Gtcr^ara, juavTei''juaTa, (prinai, xp'^'^'t^oi. 


abundance in the New Testament, are so conclusive, 
it were altogether superfluous to enlarge upon those 
which are contained in the Old Testament itself. 
Suffice it, in brief, to remark, that Moses was expressly 
commanded to ivrite the account of the war with 
Amalek in the book, which he had already begun to 
compose, and which was, in all probability, the pre- 
ceding part of the Pentateuch (Exod. xvii. 14) ; that 
David, in one of his most striking prophetical Psalms, 
which treat exclusively of the Messiah, introduces him 
as declaring : " In the volume of the book it is written 
" of me " (Ps. xl. 6) ; that Isaiah distinctly recognises 
a book, which he designates the Book of the Lord, 
which he calls upon his readers to investigate 
(xxxiv. 16) ; that he and the prophets Jeremiah and 
Habakkuk are charged by the Lord to commit their 
predictions to writing (Isa. viii. 1 ; xxx. 8 ; Jer. xxx. 2; 
xxxvi. 2, 4 ; li. 59, 60 ; Hab. ii. 2) ; that Daniel was 
commanded to shut up the words, and seal the hook of 
his prophecy (ch. xii. 4) ; that he closely connects the 
word of the Lord, which was delivered by Jeremiah, 
with certain hooks, by the study of which he ascer- 
tained the exact length of the captivity ; that Jehovah 
asserts to himself the composition of the documents, 
which had been put into the hands of the Israelites 
(Hosea viii. 12) ; and finally, that not unfrequently 
later writers quote or borrow passages from those who 
preceded them, in a way which implies their divine 
authority (Is. xv. xvi. ; Jer. xlviii. ; Jer. xlix. 7 — 17 ; 
Obad. ; Exod. xv. 2 ; Ps. cxviii. ; Is. xii. ; Deut. xxv.; 
Jud. V. ; Ps. Ixviii. &c.) 

These and similar notices, which meet the eye on 


perusing the sacred pages of the Old Testament Scrip- 
tures, cannot fairly or consistently be explained upon 
any other principle, than the admission of a Divine 
authority attaching to the book, or those portions of 
the book to which reference in each case is made. 

It only remains, on the present occasion, to bring 
forward the evidence, which the books of the New 
Testament furnish of their own inspiration. 

Assuming it as proved, that the writers of the books 
which were composed under the old economy, enjoyed 
the privilege of infallible Divine assistance or the super- 
natural communication of truth, it may be presumed, 
that those of the New, which is a dispensation of more 
enlarged privilege, and more abundant in extraordinary 
gifts, should likewise have stood under the immediate 
guidance of the Holy Spirit. We have shown, that, 
as it was more important for the church to be furnished 
with an unerring standard of faith and practice in all 
ages, than merely to possess such an undoubted rule 
of authority during the lifetime of the apostles, in 
their oral decisions, there is every reason to believe her 
allwise and gracious Head has made special provision 
for the supply of such a standard ; especially since he 
expressly promised them the efficient aid of the Para- 
clete in the execution of their high commission. "We 
take it for granted, that, if they actually enjoyed the 
extraordinary influences of this blessed Agent, when 
preaching the doctrines of the kingdom by word of 
mouth, they must equally have enjoyed those influences 
in the composition of their written documents.^ 

(I) See Note P. 


But it is not to presumptive arguments we now 
appeal. We take up the authentic writings of the 
ambassadors of Christ, and we learn, from their own 
testimony, that they were inspired. Not that the 
doctrine is formally asserted with any degree of fre- 
quency. The circumstances in which the apostles 
were placed rendered the announcement of such a 
proposition, in most cases, perfectly unnecessary. All 
that Ave have any right to expect is the incidental 
mention of it, on certain particular occasions which 
called for its assertion. 

The prefixing of the term " apostle," as descriptive 
of office, to the different epistles, was obviously intended 
to stamp with divine authority whatever they might 
contain. It is a notification, that the person who laid 
claim to the title, was under the special direction of 
the Spirit of truth, whom the Redeemer promised to 
confer upon his apostles to qualify them for their work. 
It is the seal-royal of heaven, giving a divine sanction 
to all the instructions contained in the documents to 
which it is attached. Suppose that any of us had 
lived in the time of Paul, and been acquainted with 
all the circumstances of his history, and a letter had 
been addressed to us individually, beginning as follows : 
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of 
God — should we not have considered ourselves sacredly 
bound to receive its contents, and comply with its 
requisitions? Admitting the fact, that he held a 
Divine commission, we could not, with the smallest 
degree of consistency, have rejected his authority as 
thus announced to us through the medium of a written 


It is not, however, at the commencement of their 
letters merely, that the apostles assert their inspired 
authority : they also vindicate it in the course of their 
written instructions. " I say the truth in Christ ; 
" I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness 
" in the Holy Ghost." (Rom. ix. 1.) Not only was 
what he was about to deliver agreeable to the relation 
in which he stood to the Saviour; it was also the 
result of what his inward consciousness assured him 
was a dictate of the Holy Spirit, by whom he was 
inspired (J.v irvev^iarL ayiw). In a subsequent part of 
the same Epistle, he ascribes the boldness with which 
he wrote to the special grace of apostleship : " Never- 
" theless, brethren, I have written the more boldly 
" unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, 
" because of the grace that is given to me of God," &c. 
(Rom. XV. 15, 16.) At the conclusion of his instruc- 
tions to the Corinthian church on several questions 
connected with marriage, he states as a valid reason 
why they should be received: "I think also that I 
" have the Spirit of God." (1 Cor. vii. 40.) Not that 
he stood in any doubt with respect to the fact of his 
being under the infallible direction of the Holy Spirit : 
he only expresses himself in language adapted, by the 
very peculiarity of its construction, to silence any who 
might be disposed to call his inspiration in question.' 
Some commentators, it must be admitted, have advanced 
the hypothesis, that, in this and other parts of the 
chapter, the apostle disclaims inspiration, and merely 
delivers his own private opinion, which it was at the 
option of those to whom he wrote, to receive or reject 

(1) See Note Q. 


at pleasure. The passages are as follows: "But I 
" speak this by permission, and not of commandment." 
" And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the 
" Lord." " But to the rest speak I, not the Lord." 
" I have no commandment of the Lord : yet I give my 
"judgment as one that hath obtained mercy of the 
" Lord to be faithful." " I think also that I have the 
" Spirit of God." (1 Cor. vii. 6, 10, 12, 25, 40.) But 
such a mode of construction as that just noticed cannot 
be reconciled with the representations which the 
apostle otherwise makes of the authority with which 
he was invested, and the obedience which he claims to 
his decisions, as those of the Master by whom he had 
been sent. It is at variance even with the language 
which he employs in the chapter itself. For though 
he declares at the 12th verse: " To the rest speak I, 
not the Lord," yet, after giving the directions to which 
that formula is introductory, he concludes : *' And so 
ORDAIN I in all the churches." (Ver. 17.) The term 
liardcraofxaL, here rendered ordain, is equally authori- 
tative with ETnrayr} and irapayyiXku), which he uses to 
denote the commandment or ordinance of the Lord 
himself. When he asserts (ver. 6) that what he spoke 
was /caret avyyvo) jir^v, ov Kar eVtrayr/i^, "by permission, 
not by commandment," it is evident from the structure 
of the words, that he did not mean, as Wahl explains 
in his Lexicon, to leave it to the pleasure of the 
Corinthians, which course they would adopt. The pre- 
position Kurd points out equally in both cases the origin 
or author of the communications of which he .^peaks. 
The directions, which he had just given, did not 
oriofinate with himself. Had he been left to advise 


according to his own views and feelings, he would 
(0£/\w, I could wish for QeXoLixi) unquestionably have 
delivered a different judgment (ver. 7) ; but what he 
wrote w'as the result of a concession directly made to 
him by the Holy Spirit, of which he was distinctly 
conscious at the time. In like manner, when statino: 
(ver. 25) that he had no specific commandment of the 
Lord, and being about to employ the verb vo/j/^w, 
"I judge," he qualifies his statement in such a manner 
as must convince every impartial reader that he 
attached to the judgment he was about to deliver an 
importance to which it would not have been entitled, 
if he had not been writing under the influence of 
inspiration. His meaning evidently is : "I give my 
'* judgment, as one who has been so graciously dealt 
" with by the Lord, as to be put into the apostleship, 
" and thus to be worthy of entire credit. It is not an 
" ordinary minister of Christ who addresses you, but 
" an apostle endowed with the Holy Spirit." And, as 
we before observed, the way in which he expresses 
himself (ver. 40), when concluding this part of his 
Epistle, evinces his conviction, that, notwithstanding 
the distinction which he had made between the Lord 
and himself, the decisions which he had given were 
the result of the infallible guidance of the Spirit of 

We are, therefore, compelled by the simple showing 
of the phraseology which the apostle uses in this 
chapter, to search for a solution very different from 
that which would represent him as delivering mere 
human opinions respecting the subjects in question. 
And there appears no just reason why we should 


depart from the interpretation adopted by Chrysostom, 
Calvin, Mills, Witsius. and many others, that, in the 
one case, there is a reference to certain special instruc- 
tions which the Lord Christ had given during his 
personal ministry, and in the other, to instructions 
which were now being delivered by the Holy Spirit 
through the instrumentality of the apostle. On the 
subject of the conduct of married persons, referred to 
verses 1 — 5, and that of virgins, ver. 25, our Lord had 
said nothing while upon earth ; it was, therefore, neces- 
sary for the apostle now to decide upon them, which 
he did under the unerring direction of the Holy Spirit. 
On other subjects, such as divorce, ver. 10, Christ 
had already decided (Matt. v. 32 ; xix. 3 — 10); in 
which case it was proper simply to avow, that the 
reply to the question which had been proposed, was 
founded, not on a judgment similarly produced, but 
upon the recollection of the Saviour's commandment. 
The same remarks will apply to 2 Cor. viii. 8, 10 : 
" I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of 
" the forwardness of others." " And herein I give my 
" advice;" and in some measure to ch. xi. 17, of the 
same Epistle: "That which I speak, I speak it not 
" after the Lord ;" though in the latter passage it is 
the example of Christ (ram Kvpiop), and not his pre- 
cepts, to which the apostle refers. 

Clearly, however, as this appears to be the meaning 
of the passages quoted, it may not be inapposite to 
observe, that, on the supposition that Paul did intend 
to disclaim inspiration in these particular instances, 
it follows from the very circumstance of his making 
them exceptions, that all the other parts of his epistles 


were inspired. Mr. Belsliam, indeed, contends, that 
" the contrary conclusion would be most agreeable to 
" reason, viz. that, wherever he does not expressly 
" assert his inspiration, he is not to be regarded as 
" in;;pired. For inspiration is a miracle, which is 
" never to be admitted but upon the clearest evidence. 
" And the apostle nowhere claims unlimited inspira- 
" tion." ^ But the question is not left to the decision 
of reason : the apostle did demand unlimited submis- 
sion to whatever he taught. What can be more 
positive than his language, for instance (ch. ii. 16), 
" We have the mind of Christ " ? i. e. as the same 
author paraphrases the words, " we, who are authorized 
" apostles, and who have learned the Christian 
" doctrine by the instruction of the Spirit of God, 
" and by supernatural illumination, are assured, that 
" we are in possession of the genuine truths of the 
" Christian religion, and that we are duly authorized 
" and qualified to communicate these important 
" truths to all. — And being in possession of the true 
*' doctrine . of Christ, and having given the most 
" satisfactory proofs that we are so, we have a right to 
" challenge the attentive and I'^^f^sexering regard of 
" our hearers.''^ ^ 

That the apostle considered himself to be under the 
infallible influence of the Spirit of God in all that he 
wrote to the churches, is most evident from his abso- 
lute and uncontrolled declaration (1 Cor. xiv. 37, 38), 
" If any man think himself to be a prophet or spiritual, 
" let him acknowledge, that the things that / write 

(1) Apostolical Epistles, inloc. (2) Ibid. 


" unto you, are tlie com7nandments of the Lord. But 
" if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant." The 
comment of the writer just quoted, on the last of these 
verses, is too remarkable to be omitted ; and we can 
only express our astonishment, that any person, who 
could employ such language, should himself, in his 
theological writings, have furnished so awful an 
example of the case which he deprecates. " If any 
" one pretends, that he is not satisfied concerning my 
" apostolic authority, and that he sees no obligation 
" to submit to my decisions, after all the proofs which 
" I have alleged of the commission under which I act, 
" I shall take no further pains to convince him ; his 
" ignorance is wilful. Let him and his associates 
" take the consequences of their voluntary 

" ERROR." 

In his second Epistle (ch. x. 11), the apostle, as we 
have already had occasion to observe, places his epistles 
precisely upon the same footing in point of authority 
with his personal labours. " Let such an one think 
" this, that such as we are in word hy letters^ when we 
" are absent, such also are we in deed^ when we are 
" present." They equally possessed miraculous in- 
fluence : his oral teaching or enforcement of discipline 
being accompanied by the Divine sanction supernatu- 
rally evinced; his letters not containing the mere 
results of his own invention or reasoning, but the 
unerring dictates of the Spirit of God. 

When exhorting the members of the church at 
Thessalonica to maintain purity of conduct, he most 
unscrupulously avers : " He, therefore, tliat despiseth, 
" despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given 


" unto us his Holy Spirit." (1 Thess. iv. 8.) Though 
he had just inculcated the duty, yet he would have the 
attention of the Thessalonians entirely directed away 
from himself as the instrument to the real author of 
the injunction. The negation is not comparative, as 
some would construe it : " He, therefore, that despiseth, 
" despiseth not so much man as God," &c., but abso- 
lute, i The duty is enjoined by Divine authority, 
which whoever rejects, must abide the consequences. 
To confirm his statement, however, the apostle adds : 
" Who hath also given unto us his Holy Spirit." He 
and his fellow apostles were the subjects of divine 
inspiration, so that the instructions which they im- 
parted were to be received as divine, not merely in 
the present instance, but on every occasion, and without 
any exception. Whenever they taught, either orally 
or by letter, they merely communicated what they 
were commissioned by the Holy Spirit to impart. 
The words, to have any force in such connection, must 
be thus interpreted. 

In his second Epistle to the same church, the apostle 
attaches to his epistolary communications an import- 
ance, which he never could have done, had they not 
been the result of inspiration : " If any man obey not 
" our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no 
" company with him," &c. (ch. iii. 1 4) ; and so impor- 
tant did he consider it to have his apostolic authority 
clearly established in the minds of those to whom he 
addressed his letters, that, on closing the present com- 
munication, he adds, " The salutation of Paul with 

(1) Winer's Gram. pp. 414, 415. 


*' mine own hand, whicli is the token in every epistle : 
".w I writer (Ver. 17.) 

To the inspiration of the Pauline Epistles, an 
unequivocal testimony is borne by Peter in his second 
Ei^istle (iii. 15, 16), "Even as our beloved brother 
" Paul also, according to the wisdom given unto him, 
*' hath written unto you ; as also, in all his epistles," 
&c. ; on which we observe : First, that what Paul 
wrote is here expressly ascribed to supernatural 
wisdom : it was not the result of his own reasoning, 
nor deduced from any school of human philosophy, 
but was the eifect of that divine teaching to which he 
repeatedly refers in his writings. Secondly, there is 
in the words a distinct recognition of a definite number 
of epistolary writings, which were known to have been 
composed by the same apostle, and of which it is also 
of course to be predicated, that he wrote them in 
consequence of the same divirtely inspired wisdom. 
Thirdly, by " the other Scriptures," tolq XotTrdg ypa^tic, 
the apostle most probably means the writings of the 
Old Testament. If so, then, by placing the Epistles 
of Paul in the same category with tliem, he invests 
them with equal authority, and furnishes us with the 
earliest instance, in which the term Scripture, which 
we have seen was appropriated to the Old Testament, 
is, by implication, extended to at least a considerable 
portion of the New. Grotius, however, supposes the 
Gospels and Acts to be meant, which amounts to the 
same thing. 

That John was inspired, the Book of the Revelation 
bears most ample testimony — the whole being com- 
posed either of visions, Avhich were presented to him 


in a state of tlie highest inspiration (eV TrvtvjjiaTi, 
chap. i. 10), or epistles, which were dictated to him 
immediately by the Lord Jesus, to be despatched to 
the seven churches of Asia Minor. 

There is only one passage more, which it would be 
injustice to our subject not to quote. It is that in 
which Peter, after having adverted to his former 
Epistle, and that which he was then writing, claims 
for the instructions given by himself and the other 
apostles an authority equivalent to that v/ith which 
the doctrines and precepts delivered by the prophets 
of the Old Testament were invested : " That ye may 
" be mindful of the words which were spoken before 
" by the holy prophets, and of the commandments of 
" us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour." (2d Epist. 
iii. 2.) 

Such are some of the testimonies to be found in the 
books of the New Testament to the fact of the inspi- 
ration of the writers ; and certainly, — bearing in mind 
what has already been hinted, that they are, f jr the 
most part, incidental, and not put forth systematically 
in support of the doctrine, — they are so highly satisfac- 
tory in their character, that, had we no other evidence, 
we should be perfectly warranted in ascribing all that 
can be ascertained to have proceeded from the pens 
of these men, or to have received their sanction, to the 
same divine influence, which Moses and the prophets 
enjoyed under the former dispensation. The language 
is of the most explicit and positive nature ; and de- 
scribes an inspiration, which extended to all that the 
writers communicated. They vindicate to themselves 
and their associates a tuition, which they could only 


have enjoyed as the result of the accomplishment of 
our Lord's promise of the Holy Spirit ; and they speak 
in a tone of authority and infallibility, which none 
was warranted to assume, who did not stand in direct 
correspondence with heaven, and to which such men 
as the disciples of Jesus could not possibly have pre- 
tended, had they not been specially called to the 
office which they sustained. 




"/ have written to him the great things of 'my law.'"' 

We have now arrived at one of those divisions of our 
subject, which has been regarded as clogged with 
more than ordinary difficulties, and with respect to 
which, as may easily be imagined, a great diversity of 
opinion has prevailed. In the introductory Lecture, 
a general view was taken of the different lights in 
Avhich the doctrine of inspiration has been contemplated 
in various sections and in successive ages of the church. 
Certain aspects under which it has been presented, are 
obviously to be attributed to the distorted mediums of 
prejudice, and the false colours of unenlightened zeal, 
through which it has been viewed. In many instances, 
the love of system, or sheer opposition to all system, 
has exerted a baneful influence on the adjudication of 
the question ; and, while, on the one hand, there has 
been exhibited a contractedness, a dogmatism, and an 
asperity, not less unfriendly to the discovery and com- 
munication of truth, than dishonourable to all M^ho 


would identify themselves with its interests ; there has 
frequently, on the other hand, been displayed a vague- 
ness of conception, a temerity of reasoning, a rashness 
of conclusion, and a levity and flippancy of language, 
egregiously out of place at all times when brought 
into contact with subjects of grave and serious import, 
but more especially, when applied to the treatment of 
a subject of so sacred a character, as that of Divine 

The fact of a divine influence having been exerted in 
the composition of the Scriptures, is expressly asserted 
by Jehovah himself, in the words which we have just 
read from the prophet Hosea. That we are to limit 
the sense of the words to the decalogue simply, which 
is described by Moses as having been written by the 
finger of God, there is nothing in the connection to 
warrant: on the contrary, there is reason to believe, 
that the declaration was designed to be extended to 
the whole of the Mosaic law, if not to all the other 
portions of divine revelation, which had been written 
prior to the time of the prophet. The Hebrew un, 
rendered in our version " the great things," may 
equally well be translated " the numerous things ;" 
and the use of the future tense of the verb (:in9^) con- 
veys the idea of communications being continuously 
committed to writing. With these the Israelites had 
been favoured, but they made no account of them : 
preferring the worship of idols to the service of the 
only God, and the impure gratifications of sin to the 
satisfaction connected with obedience to his law. 

With respect to the two tables of stone, which Moses 
received on Mount Sinai, there can be no doubt, that 


they were miraculously prepared, and that the writing 
which was inscribed upon them was likewise of Divine 
workmanship. It has been maintained, indeed, by 
some, that the language is merely figurative, and that 
nothing more is meant, than the communication of the 
ten commandments to Moses, and his writing them 
upon the tables by order and according to the direction 
of God : but the terms of the sacred description are so 
explicit, and the repetitions of the fact so evidently 
introduced for the purpose of creating a contrary 
belief, that we must either reject the testimony of 
Moses altogether, or abide by the literal interpretation. 
The decalogue had been proclaimed in the hearing of 
the whole nation of Israel, encamped before the moun- 
tain ; but awful as were the circumstances which 
attended its promulgation, it would soon have passed 
into oblivion, if a permanent mode of preserving it had 
not been adopted. Moses was, therefore, invited to go 
up to Sinai, in the following words : " Come up to me 
" into the mount, and be there : and I will give thee 
" tables of stone, and a law, and commandments, which 
"/ have written; that thou mayest teach them." 
(Exod. xxiv. 12.) He next informs us, chap. xxxi. 18, 
" And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end 
" of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two 
" tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the 
'^finger of God'' But the most complete description 
is given, chap, xxxii. 15, 16 : " And Moses turned, and 
" went down from the mount, and the two tables 
" of testimony were in his hand, the tables were 
" written on both their sides ; on the one side and on 
■' the other were they written. And the tables were 


" the work of God, and the writing was the writing of 
" God, graven upon the tables." And though, after 
they had been broken, Moses was commanded to hew 
two tables like unto the first, yet it is again expressly 
stated, that " the Lord wrote on the tables, according 
" to the first writing, the ten commandments." (Deut. 
X. 1 — 5.) It is impossible for language more explicitly 
to teach the immediate operation of Deity, than what 
is employed by Moses in these several passages of the 

It may strike some minds, that there was no occasion 
for this intervention of Jehovah, since Moses was 
already acquainted with writing, and might, with the 
utmost ease, have inscribed on the tables whatever it 
pleased the Almighty to reveal through his instru- 
mentality. That he was previously initiated into the 
art of writing is past dispute, since he received a com- 
mand to enter, in the register of events which he kept, 
an account of the victory gained over the Amalekites, 
some time before the transactions which took place on 
Sinai. (Exod. xvii.) Attempts, it is true, have been 
made to explain this passage so as to get rid of its 
evidence against the theory, that there was no writing 
whatever before the time of Moses : but they have 
completely failed, and it must ever prove an insu- 
perable barrier to the adoption of any such hypothesis. 

It is, however, extremely probable, that, previous 
to this period, Moses was only acquainted with the 
hieroglyphic mode of writing, which he must have 
learned in Egypt ; but, partly in order to discoun- 
tenance image-worship, and partly with a view to give 

(1) See Note R. 


facility to the transmission of the truths of divine 
revelation, God furnished him, on this occasion, with 
an important specimen of alphabetic Scripture, and 
taught him how to compose in it the other laws and 
ordinances, which he revealed to him. At all events, 
it is certain, we possess no accounts from antiquity, 
which go to show, that alphabetic characters were 
invented prior to the time of the Jewish legislator; 
while the concurrent testimony of ancient writers, 
referring their introduction to some period near to that 
in which he flourished, corroborates the opinion, so 
naturally suggested by the sacred narrative, that they 
were of divine origin. 

In the composition of this divine autograph of the 
decalogue, we possess the only instance on record of 
inspiration, in the highest and most perfect, though 
not the ordinary, acceptation of the term. On all other 
occasions, and in reference to all that we now possess 
in writing, as the result of a divine operation, human 
agency was employed. The copy of the decalogue 
itself, which was designed for common use among the 
Hebrews, was written by the hand of Moses. It be- 
comes, therefore, a question of deep interest: How 
was human agency employed in committing to writing 
the contents of Holy Scripture, so as to invest them 
with the authoritative character of a divine revelation ? 
In other words : What was the nature of that influence 
which was exerted on the minds of the writers ? And, 
how did it operate to the production of that unerring 
standard of truth which their writings comprise ? 

To some all such questions may seem to savour of 
presumption, and to spring from a profane desire to 


penetrate into arcana, which must ever remain inac- 
cessible to human investigation. They may be decried 
as unhallowed speculations, and as giving rise to fruit- 
less and unscriptural theories : but if the subject is 
really presented to our view in the word of God, not 
merely as to the matter of fact, but under a variety of 
aspects and bearings, can it possibly be wrong to 
contemplate it in the various lights in which it is thus 
presented ? Or rather, we may ask : Must it not, to 
say the least, be ungrateful to refuse to examine it 
according to those points of view in which the Author 
of revelation has been pleased to place it, and which 
afford manifest illustrations of his infinite wisdom and 
goodness ? If certain phenomena are exhibited on the 
pages of Scripture in connection with what it teaches 
respecting the doctrine of inspiration, is it not reasonable 
to expect, that an impartial examination of these phe- 
nomena will greatly facilitate our attempts to ascertain 
the particular bearings of the sacred influence which 
the writers enjoyed ? And if a diversity of forms and 
modes of expression are employed in the descriptions 
which are given of that influence, can there be any 
thing improper in fully weighing the import of such 
phraseology according to just principles of interpreta- 
tion, and framing our views in accordance with the 
hermeneutical results which may thus be brought out ? 
It is obvious, that, not possessing the consciousness 
of ever having ourselves been acted upon by any such 
influence, the subject in itself is one which lies entirely 
beyond the sphere of our actual experience. None of 
us has ever been favoured with miraculous communi- 
cations from the Father of lights. The secrets of the 


invisible world have not been directly unveiled to us. 
To our view the vista of future events has not been 
opened. The knowledge of divine things, which we 
may possess, we are able, more or less, to refer to some 
instrumentality within the range of secondary causes — 
though we cannot but ascribe the arrangement, opera- 
tion, and efficiency of these causes to the positive, 
though invisible, accompanying influence of Him, who 
worketh all in all. The utmost latitude that can be 
conceded to experience, in reference to the point before 
us, is simply to determine how, according to its native 
constitution, the human mind is acted upon, in order 
analogically to deduce certain inferences respecting the 
manner in which it became susceptible of impressions 
. produced upon it by its Maker, always soberly keeping 
within the limits j^rescribed by the representations of 
sacred Scripture. If the admired position be indeed 
just, that, when God makes the prophet, he does not 
unmake the man, it may rationally be concluded, that, 
in exerting a supernatural influence upon the powers 
of the human mind, he did not act contrary to the 
nature of the functions which he has allotted to them ; 
but, on the contrary, operated upon them precisely as 
they are ordinarily operated upon — the only difference 
consisting in the super-addition of mental vigour, 
which it was not in the power of inferior agency to 
supply, and the infallible certainty of the sequences 
resulting from his immediate operations. In bringing 
those powers into action, the influence exerted would 
be such as, in each particular case, was necessary to 
secure the proposed end. Sometimes one faculty would 
be called into exercise, sometimes another ; but each. 


or more of them combined, as the exigency of the occa- 
sion required. In arresting the attention ; presenting 
objects of sensation and perception ; creating and guid- 
ing processes of ratiocination ; suggesting new elements 
and combinations of thought ; prompting to investiga- 
tion ; producing elevation of feeling ; reviving former 
impressions and associations ; or preserving from fallacy 
and error — there is reason to believe, that the Holy 
Spirit conducted his administration so as not to do 
violence to any of the natural faculties with which he 
had endowed the agents whom he condescended to 
employ. They were his instruments, but not blind or 
unconscious mechanical instruments of his will. They 
continued to be the subjects of perception, memory, 
imagination, judgment, and will, all of which he sanc- 
tified for the execution of the important task to which 
he called them.^ 

Such a view of the subject is completely borne out 
by the facts of the case, as presented on almost every 
page of the Bible. Instead of appearing there in the 
character of mere passive agents, the writers display 
evident marks of conscious and rational activity. They 
relate facts, teach doctrines, inculcate duties, lay down 
premises, draw conclusions, reflect, remember, resolve, 
hope, fear, rejoice, grieve, &c., so far as the natural 
constitution of the mind is concerned, in a way pre- 
cisely analogous to what they would have done, had 
no supernatural influence been exerted. In fact, to 
such an extent does the active agency of the instru- 
ments pervade the composition, and so manifestly does 
it appear, that, when adverting to any particular 

(1) Witsii Miscell. Sac. lib. i. cap. xxii. 12. 


passage, nothing is more common than for writers of 
opposite views of the subject to employ the language: 
" according to the reasoning of the apostle ;" " Paul 
says ;" " it is affirmed by John," &c. — language, which 
would be altogether destitute of meaning, if the ordi- 
nary exercise of their faculties had been counteracted 
or suspended while the process of inspiration was being 
carried on by the higher Agent, in whose service they 
were engaged. Nor is it unusual for the New Testa- 
ment writers themselves to speak in the same style : 
" Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the 
man ;" " Moses saith :" " Paul hath written — as also 
in all his Epistles, speaking of these things." 

It has been customary to speak of inspiration in 
language which conveys the idea, that every thing 
contained in Scripture was immediately revealed to 
the writers at the moment of its composition. They 
have been represented as the simple and momentary 
recipients of the communications which they were to 
reduce to a documentary form ; and the whole of the 
result as presented in their compositions has been 
unconditionally attributed to the Holy Spirit, without 
making any allowance whatever for human agency. 
Indeed, to take this agency at all into the account has 
been thought to derogate from the honour of the 
Divine Instructor, and to be calculated to diminish our 
regard for his dictates. Nearly allied to this prejudice 
is another, which exerts a powerful influence over 
some minds, namely, that, as every part of the Bible is 
inspired, we ought to rest satisfied with the fact of 
such inspiration, without inquiring whether any dis- 
tinctions obtained in the mode of its operation. 


But it appears truly surprising how such conclusions 
could have been arrived at by any, who allowed the 
facts and phenomena of the case, which stand out with 
so much prominence in the Scriptures, impartially to 
engage their attention. That they should have disap- 
proved of much that has been written on the subject 
cannot be matter of wonder ; that they should have 
opposed the spirit and condemned the reasonings of 
some who have rejected the views which they regard 
to be alone just and scriptural, might naturally be 
expected ; but that they should have hazarded the 
position, and even gone so far as to constitute it an 
article of Christian faith, that no difference whatever 
existed in reference to the way in which the Holy 
Spirit acted upon the writers of the Bible, must have 
exceeded belief, had it not been placed beyond all 
doubt by documents which are before the public. 
With the statements put forth on the subject by 
Le Clerc, Sender, Eckermann, Priestley, Belsham, 
De Wette, Wegscheider, and others of various grades 
in the same school, we confess we have no sympathy. 
They are entirely subversive of that full and implicit 
confidence in the word of God, which it unconditionally 
claims. The treatment which divine truth has expe- 
rienced at the hands of those who have advocated them, 
cannot but inspire all who are supremely attached to 
that truth with abhorrence of the source to which it is 
manifestly to be traced. Results, that would annihilate 
every point of revelation which renders it either neces- 
sary or valuable, are totally incompatible with a con- 
sistent belief in its supernatural character. 

But are such men as Baier, Calixt, Hollaz, Carpov, 


Baumgarten, Pfaff, Baxter, Clarke, Stackhouse, Dod- 
dridge, La Motlie, Stennett, Parry, J. Pye Smith,Horne, 
Knapp, Dick, and Wilson, to be branded as heretics, 
or suspected of infidelity, because, compelled by the 
evidence before them, they have admitted the distinc- 
tion in question ? If the simpler aspect had been 
found to satisfy the exigencies of the various passages 
of Scripture in which the doctrine is taught, these 
writers would have been the last to abandon it ; but 
while their belief in plenary inspiration was as firm, 
and, as their writings and lives have proved, as influ- 
ential as that possessed by their opponents, and they 
would on no consideration have sacrificed an iota of 
revealed truth to meet prejudice or support a theory, 
still they found it impossible to shut their eyes against 
the light, which an impartial study of the sacred word 
supplied. The opinions which they have given to the 
world, were not crudely formed, nor hastily embraced ; 
but the result of much patient investigation, the free 
and unfettered pursuit of truth, comprehensive views 
of the contents of divine revelation, and a perception 
of the entire bearing of the question on the interests 
of the kingdom of God. They may occasionally have 
employed a term or a phrase, in which the keen eye of 
criticism may discover a want of strict consistency 
with the general principles, which they have unequi- 
vocally avowed : but it is not from incidental expres- 
sions, which may fall from an author, that we are to 
form our judgment of his system, but from his state- 
ments and arguments taken as a whole. 

It will be convincingly evident to all, who may take 
the pains to peruse the works in which what we deli- 


berately term the contracted view of the question is 
advocated, that it never could have been adopted, but 
as the result of confining within too narrow limits, the 
import of certain metaphorical terms employed by the 
sacred writers to describe their own inspiration, or that 
of the Scriptures of which they treat. Instead, for 
instance, of allotting to deoTrvevaTog all that latitude of 
meaning, which the various circumstances connected 
with the composition of the different books impera- 
tively demand, it has been limited so as to signify 
nothing more than simple infusion, or the direct com- 
munication of all that is written to the minds of the 
authors. According to this view, no room is left for 
the operation of any mediate causation, either in the 
minds of the writers or extrinsical to them, which the 
Spirit might have employed to the extent of its 
efficiency ; but the whole is resolved into his own 
immediate and exclut-ive agency. The effect of this 
agency was, it is maintained, analogous to that expe- 
rienced by those who consulted the pagan oracles. 
Their inspiration was of the highest kind, without an}'- 
variation or exception ; or rather there was but one 
kind — the strict infusion of the ideas and words, which 
they were to commit to writing. 

It is a principle, which no one will deny, who pos- 
sesses enlightened views of the character and govern- 
ment of God, that the introduction of miraculous 
agency takes place only where the efficiency of ordinary 
causes fails to produce results, which, for wise, holy, 
and benevolent purposes, it is necessary should be 
brought into existence. So long as the laws of nature, 
botli of the physical and mental order, continue, by 


their sustained operation, to effect the Divine will, 
(and to the extent in which they can be rendered 
subservient to its accomplishment,) their All-wise 
Author and Controller emf>loys them for this end; 
and it is not till a new order of causation is required, 
and precisely in the ratio of the degree in which it is 
required, that it is made to tell upon the affairs of the 
universe. It is only w4ien second causes cannot, in 
any way, contribute to the achievement of higher ends 
than those for which they were originally adapted, 
and to which they are perfectly adequate, that the 
Great First Cause interposes his own immediate agency, 
and then also exactly in proportion as the exigencies 
of particular cases may demand. 

Upon this principle, which is universally admitted 
in its application to miracles generally, it seems per- 
fectly lawful to reason with respect to that special kind 
of miraculous influence, which was exerted on the 
penmanship of the sacred Scriptures. It is an incon- 
trovertible fact, that those by whom the sacred books 
were written, possessed, to a greater or less extent, 
a previous acquaintance with many of the subjects of 
which they treat. These subjects were of an historical 
nature ; they came under the cognizance of their senses ; 
or they were matters of inward personal experience 
and consciousness. Now is it not absolutely prepos- 
terous to maintain, without any reserve or qualification, 
that they had the knowledge of these things infused 
into them ? How are we to conceive of an immediate 
impartation of that which they already possessed? 
Was it necessary, for example, that Moses should have 
communicated to him the knowledo^e of the circum- 


stance, that " the children of Israel went into the midst 
" of the sea upon dry ground, and that the waters were 
" a wall unto them on their right hand and on their 
'' left ?" (Exod. xiv. 22.) Or Matthew, that " as Jesus 
" passed from Nazareth, he saw a man named Matthew, 
" sitting at the receipt of custom ?" (Matt. ix. 9.) Or 
Paul, that " Achaia was ready a year ago" with her 
contributions, and that the zeal of the believers had 
provoked very many? (2 Cor. ix. 2.) These were 
circumstances which they could not but know, and, 
therefore, they l^equired no inspiration to make them 
acquainted with them. Innumerable instances of a 
similar description might be adduced ; and indeed the 
fact is so notorious, that it is only necessary to mention 
it, in order at once to produce a vivid impression of its 
bearing on the present discussion. 

The charge of absurdity, which so manifestly lies 
against the hypothesis we are combating, may be 
attempted to be met by the remark, that, in reference 
to such cases, the inspiration did not consist in the 
actual impartation of such knowledge to the writer, 
but merely in impelling and enabling him to record it. 
But who does not perceive, that this completely shifts 
the ground ; or rather, that it is an abandonment of 
the position, which is incessantly reiterated respecting 
the immediate infusion of ideas and words ; and an 
adoption of the very principle, in one of its most 
important bearings, which so much pains have been 
taken to bring into discredit ? If this view of the 
subject be once admitted, there can be no consistency 
in reprobating the opinion, that there did actually exist 
a distinction in the method adopted by the Spirit of 


God, when employing human agency in writing the 
Scriptures. Such a distinction is ipso facto granted; 
and if conceded Avith respect to one point, without 
endangering the divine authority of the record, it may, 
with equal safety, be conceded in regard to other 
aspects, under which the doctrine is presented to our 

Having made these preliminary observations, for the 
purpose of clearing the ground which we intend to 
occupy, it may now be proper to give a general defini- 
tion of what we conceive that inspiration to have been, 
which the sacred writers enjoyed, when composing the 
Scriptures. In furnishing this definition, we are 
anxious to express it in terms, which shall, in their 
unstrained import, embrace the whole of the case, 
while they leave the particular aspects, under which 
it may be viewed, unforeclosed, and susceptible of 
further determination, according to the different classes 
of phenomena that are presented for investigation. 
Divine Inspiration, then, we consider to have been : 
An extraordinary and supernatural influence 


In defining the influence in question as supernatural 
in its character, we wish clearly to distinguish it from 
those operations of Divine Providence, by which intel- 
ligence and genius are imparted to the human mind. 


and which, being gifts proceeding from above, and not 
acquired by human effort, are spoken of in a lower 
sense by Job as inspiration. " But there is a spirit in 
" man ; and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth 
" them understanding." (Chap, xxxii. 8.) To these 
natural gifts the Rationalistic writers would reduce all 
that the Scripture teaches on the subject of Inspiration ; 
and, in recommendation of their hypothesis, they quote 
innumerable passages from the classical writers of 
antiquity, in which poets and others of distinguished 
mental endowments are spoken of as inspired. But 
the cases are by no means parallel. The writers of the 
Bible were men of sound natural parts, but there is 
nothing in their history or writings, which, except we 
])eg the question, can be at all admitted to prove that 
they were naturally possessed of extraordinary abilities. 
On the contrary, their own admissions on the point 
evince, that they were not thus distinguished. Besides, 
it is impossible to sustain this hypothesis, without doing 
violence to all the passages of Scripture, in which the 
doctrine is taught. In proof of this we need only refer 
to the treatises of Hencke, Tieftrunk, Eckermann, and 
Wegscheider, in which is exhibited an incomparably 
larger mass of perverted philology and criticism, than 
is to be found within the same compass, in any theo- 
retical works, published on subjects connected either 
with profane or sacred literature. The influence, or 
inspiration asserted in behalf of the prophets and 
apostles, was a direct miraculous interposition on the 
part of God, — an exertion of divine energy totally 
different from any which he puts forth either in the 
oi'iginal creation of our mental powers, or in their 


subsequent preservation. It was an application of power 
and intelligence transcending any thing of the kind 
that takes place in his ordinary governance of human 
affairs. Nothing short of this can, in any degree, 
meet the demands which are made upon our under- 
standing by the grammatico-historical interpretation 
of the Scriptures, or satisfy a mind thoroughly alive 
to the momentous concerns of religion. 

We have further defined inspiration to be extraor- 
dinary as well as supernatural, with a view to discri- 
minate it from the gracious operations of the Spirit of 
God on the hearts of the regenerate. Such operations, 
like the influence of which we treat, are indeed super- 
natural : they belong to an order of causation superior 
to any existing in the ordinary departments of the 
Divine operations ; but they are common to all genuine 
Christians, whatever may be their station in the church. 
When unbelievers are described as "sensual, not 
having the Spirit," (Jude 19,) mere animal men 
{f^vxtKol), destitute of those higher or spiritual influences 
by which alone the degenerate family of Adam can 
attain to the enjoyment of adequate happiness — the 
description obviously implies that such influences are 
enjoyed by those to whom the character does not 
belong. And that they are the privilege of all be- 
lievers without exception, we are expressly taught in 
the very solemn and emphatic words: "If any man 
" have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." 
(Rom. viii. 9.) Wherever he is pleased thus to operate, 
saving effects are infallibly produced, consisting in 
" love, joy, peace," &c. (Gal. v. 22, 23 ;) and just in 
proportion as these appear are Christians furnished 



with evidences of their actual interest in the blessings 
of redemption. 

But the extraordinary influence in which inspiration 
consists, is perfectly distinct from that exerted for the 
production of these blessed effects, and might have 
been brought into operation in the entire absence of 
true piety. In the case of Balaam, the prophetic 
impulse operated in direct opposition to the principles 
and feelings of his unsanctified heart. He would have 
pronounced a curse against the people of God ; but he 
was compelled to bless them. And if it had pleased 
the great Head of the Church to employ unconverted 
men to compose the Holy Scriptures, how greatly 
soever it might have changed the aspect of the case as 
it regards their personal testimony, the results would 
have been equally infallible ; what would have pro- 
ceeded from their pen must have been the word of 
God just as much as that which we now possess. But 
such has not been the mode of the Divine procedure. 
Not only are the Scriptures holy as proceeding from 
the infinite Source of purity, but also because they 
were written by " holy men of God." Those whom 
he selected to be the instruments of communicating his 
will to the world were previously the subjects of his 
spiritual and saving grace ; their best feelings were in 
harmony with the sacred truths of which they were 
the medium of conveyance ; and thus a striking con- 
gruity was maintained between the moral and the 
miraculous character of the Divine government. 

This fact being assumed as indisputable, a new 
feature of the case presents itself for our consideration. 
We have already adverted to the powers of the human 


mind, as operated upon by the inspiring influence 
according to circumstances, without taking into account 
the regenerate or unregenerate state of these powers. 
Our object then was simply to point out the untenable- 
ness of any theory, the tendency of which goes to 
suspend or supersede their exercise, and reduce the 
writers to the character of mere passive instruments. 
What here claims our attention is the circumstance, 
that the Holy Spirit not only renewed and sanctified 
their minds by his saving operations, before he em- 
ployed them in writing the Scriptures, but also specially 
laid his own gracious work in their souls under contri- 
bution when he thus employed their instrumentality. 
That this was really the case must be evident on even 
a cursory perusal of inspired writ. Who can read the 
Psalms of David, and not perceive that most of the 
subjects which he has embodied in sublime verse were 
the subjects of his own deep-felt and various expe- 
rience ? With what prominence do the gracious work- 
ings of the mind of Paul appear in all his epistles ! 
And as to the beloved disciple, how is every thing 
which proceeded from his pen deeply imbued with that 
spirit of intense affection with which he was baptized ! 
Though inspiration, therefore, is to be conceived of as 
something distinct from the spiritual influence ordina- 
rily exerted on believers, yet it is not to be separated 
from the results of such influence in the experience of 
those who were selected to write the Scriptures ; but, 
combining itself with these results, and rendering them 
subservient to the attainment of more comprehensive 
ends, its operation gave occasion to a more illustrious 
exhibition of their moral excellence. Had the Apostle 


of the Gentiles, for instance, never written a line of 
Scripture, the constellation of his Christian graces 
must have shone with a brilliant light in numerous 
parts of the Roman world ; but the orbit, in which it 
would have revolved, must have been confined to an 
incomparably narrower space than that which it de- 
scribes on the widely diffused pages of inspiration ; and 
have disappeared in the course of a few years, instead 
of continuing upwards of seventeen centuries to occupy 
one of the first positions in the Christian zodiac. 

The Holy Spirit has not only secured to us the trans- 
mission of all the religious truth, which it is proper for 
us to know in the present state of our existence ; but 
he has secured a laro^e share of it in those interestino; 
and attractive forms of experimental and practical 
godliness, of which there exists a counterpart in the 
heart of every believer. It is not conveyed to us in 
the language of angels, but in the language of " men 
of like passions with ourselves," who had " the treasure 
in earthen vessels," and who not only could avow — 
" We have the mind of Christ," but also — " We be- 
lieve, and therefore speak." 

This view of the nature of inspiration affords a two- 
fold illustration of the Divine goodness. It displays 
the exercise of that attribute towards the inspired 
instruments, in permitting them to give expression to 
the decisions of Christian judgment, and the interest- 
ing feelings of Christian experience, while in the act 
of recording the will of God— a privilege, which they 
clearly could not have enjoyed, if they had performed 
a mere mechanical part, or if their intellectual faculties 
had merely been a channel for the conveyance of 


abstract truth. Theirs was not the cold and heartless 
task of communicating matters in which they had no 
concern, but the exalted felicity of imparting to others, 
what most deeply interested their own minds. To 
this there may seem to be an exception in the case of 
the writers of prophecy, who did not fully understand 
the import of those visions with which they were 
favoured. But whatever imperfections may have ac- 
companied their subjective knowledge of the truths 
which they delivered, it is manifest from the statements 
which they have made respecting the manner in which 
their minds were exercised in reference to them, that 
they experienced a powerful excitement, and were led 
to institute certain courses of pious action, which most 
delightfully harmonized with the nature of the heavenly 
communications. Examples in abundance occur in 
the books of the prophets Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, 
Zechariah, and in that of the Apocalypse. 

Nor is the manifestation of the goodness of God less 
conspicuous in such a view of the subject, in regard to 
the persons for whose benefit the Scriptures were 
written. These Scriptures are presented to our view, 
not in the shape of abstract uniform documents, but of 
historical, epistolary, didactic, prophetic, and devotional 
monuments, the endless variety of which, created 
chiefly by the diversity of situations in which the 
writers were placed, is admirably calculated at once to 
please and to instruct ; while the conviction, that those 
by whom they were composed were persons who more 
or less took part in the transactions which they describe 
— whose temptations, difficulties, and dangers were, in 
many respects, similar to our own, is equally fitted to 


awaken our attention, inspire us with a deep interest 
in the subjects brought under our review, and produce 
impressions of a highly powerful and practical charac- 
ter. We naturally identify ourselves with the writers, 
or with those whom they describe. We are conscious 
of a sympathy of feeling in all that we possess in com- 
mon as fallen and redeemed creatures ; and before we 
are aware, we become possessed of many truths, which, 
but for the vital forms in which they are thus conveyed 
to us, might not so easily have obtained a lodgment in 
our minds. 

The great end for which the extraordinary super- 
natural influence in question was exerted was, to 
provide mankind with a depository of divine truth, out 
of which all that variety of instruction might be 
derived, which should be adapted to the diversified 
exigencies of the human condition and character, and 
to which, as to an infallible standard, an ultimate appeal 
might be made in all matters of conscience towards 
God and man. In producing such a collection, it was 
not necessary to exert the influence always precisely 
in the same way. Many truths had already been com- 
municated to the Church, and required only to be 
brought together and stamped with the seal of Divine 
approval. Others were elicited by the peculiar cir- 
cumstances and occurrence?, in which the prophets 
and other messengers of the Divine will were placed : 
while certain leading subjects of doctrinal and prophetic 
import were directly revealed to the sacred penmen. 
But in what way soever the deposition of these truths 
was effected, the whole took place under an infallible 
influence from the Holy One, securing to what was 


written the high and sacred character of The Word 
of God} 

It is upon the different phenomena which the history 
of revelation presents, that divines have established 
the fact of a diversity of operation in regard to the in- 
fluence supernaturally exerted upon the minds of those 
by whom it was penned. They have not indeed agreed 
respecting the extent of this diversity, and the points 
of view in which it may be contemplated — but it would 
be, in the highest degree, unfair to argue from this 
circumstance, that all such distinctions are groundless, 
since it palpably arises from the difference of construc- 
tion which is put upon some of these phenomena, and 
not from any uncertainty in regard to the fact itself. 
Such a representation of the subject is by no means 
new. Baier, Hollaz, and other Lutheran theologians 
of the old school, together with several of the reformed 
divines, employed it in their systems of theology. It 
was also adopted by Lowth, Williams, La Mothe, 
Clarke, Calamy, and Doddridge ; and has more recently 
been sustained by Stennett, Parry, Dick, J. Pye Smith, 
Scott, Home, and Wilson, either in distinct treatises 
upon the subject of inspiration, or in works in which 
it has necessarily come under their consideration. 
Nor have the attacks that have been made upon it at 
all disturbed the foundation on which it rests. Imper- 
fect or even unscriptural statements on the part of 
some of its advocates may have been exposed ; but it 
is only necessary coolly to peruse the treatises which 
have been opposed to them, to be convinced that the 
general principle remains untouched. Were it in- 

(1) See Note S. 


tended, by asserting diiferent degrees or modifications 
of inspiration, that there are degrees or modifications 
of the authority given by inspiration to the Scriptures, 
according as it might be proved that different portions 
were the result of their exertion, then undoubtedly the 
theory by which they were attempted to be supported 
must meet with unqualified reprobation, from every 
one who " trembles at the word, of the Lord." But, 
if it can be proved, that what was written under the 
influence of the lowest conceivable degree of inspira- 
tion possesses the Divine sanction equally with that 
which was written under the most elevated — being the 
operation of the same Holy Spirit, and intended for 
the spiritual good of mankind, those who maintain 
such a distinction cannot justly be charged with lower- 
ing the inspiration of the word of God, or, in any way, 
making it void. They simj^ly view the subject in the 
lights in which it is placed in the Scriptures, and, 
taking them for their guide, they feel assured that they 
cannot be in error. 

Let us now inquire in what lights the subject is 
placed by an impartial and complete view of the case. 

In the first place, the sacred penmen were the sub- 
jects of a Divine Excitement, when they proceeded to 
commit to writing those matters which it was the will 
of God should be permanently preserved. By this 
excitement we understand both the supernatural inti- 
mation given to the writers, that it was the pleasure 
of the Most High they should pen any particular book 
or portion of Scripture, and also the influence by which 
they were impelled to comply with such intimation. 


With respect to the former of these modes of opera- 
tion, we find that sometimes it was immediate, and 
sometimes mediate in its character. Of immediate or 
direct excitement, we have instances in the express 
command to Moses : " And the Lord said unto Moses, 
" Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it 
" in the ears of Joshua : for I will utterly put out the 
" remembrance of Amalek from under heaven," (Exod. 
xvii. 14 ;) to Isaiah : " Moreover the Lord said unto 
" me. Take thee a great roll, and write in it with a 
" man's pen concerning Maher-shalal-hash-baz," (chap, 
viii. 1,) "Now go, write it before them in a table, and 
" note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come 
" for ever and ever," (chap. xxx. 8 ;) to Jeremiah : 
" Thus speaketh the Lord God of Israel, saying. Write 
" thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a 
" book," (ch. xxx. 2 ;) to Habakkuk : " And the Lord 
" answered me and said, Write the vision, and make it 
" plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it," 
(ch. ii. 2 ;) and to John : " What thou seest, write in 
" a book, and send it unto the seven churches which 
" are in Asia," (Rev. i. 11,) " Unto the angel of the 
" church of Ephesus, write," (ch. ii. 1, &c.,) "And I 
" heard a voice from heaven, saying unto me. Write, 
" Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from 
" henceforth : yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest 
" from their labours ; and their works do follow them," 
(ch. xiv. 13,) " And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed 
" are they which are called unto the marriage-supper 
" of the Lamb," (ch. xix. 9,) " And he said unto me, 
" Write ; for these words are faithful and true," 
(ch. xxi. 5.) In all such cases, God signified his will 


to his servants bj an internal communication, or by 
vision, in a way which so clearly evidenced the Divine 
origin of the intimation, that no doubt was left upon 
the mind of the recipients in regard to it. They had 
a vivid impression of the nature of the task assigned 
to them, and a conviction that it was their duty to 
proceed at once to execute it. As prophets or apostles, 
they stood in an immediate relation to the Deity, and 
received repeated commissions without the intervention 
of any secondary causes, which they could not but 
construe into an intimation, that they were divinely 
called to engage in composition. In consequence of 
this high relation, they were also frequently the subjects 
of a Divine impulse operating in a silent or imper- 
ceptible manner, yet infallibly prompting them to 
undertake the penmanship of such matter as God had 
purposed should form part of the inspired volume. 

On other occasions, (and these, there is reason to 
believe, by far the more numerous,) the Spirit of In- 
spiration condescended to employ a variety of mediate 
agencies in exciting the sacred penmen to the perform- 
ance of their work. Peculiar circumstances, for 
example, in the history of David, or peculiar states of 
mind superinduced by these circumstances, called forth 
the effusions of his sacred muse: at which times he 
proceeded either to pen them himself, or to dictate 
them to his amanuensis. It was in this way subordi- 
nately that Luke was excited to compose his Gospel. 
Theophilus, a person of dignity, who had been con- 
verted to Christianity, but whose situation in all 
probability precluded him from enjoying the oral 
instruction of the apostles, and who was in danger of 


being misled by imperfect accounts of the life and 
doctrines of our Redeemer, required to be put in pos- 
session of full and accurate information on these points. 
Luke, excited by the consideration of these circum- 
stances, composed his Gospel, and forwarded it to him 
for his immediate and private benefit; though the 
Divine Spirit, under whose invisible influence he wrote, 
intended that the work should not only answer this 
end, but serve as a source of perpetual and universal 
instruction. In like manner, Paul was induced by the 
accounts which reached him respecting the state of 
affairs in the church at Corinth, and especially by the 
letter which had been addressed to him, requesting his 
decision in regard to several questions of practical 
import that were agitated among them, to write the 
epistles which are inserted in our canon under their 
name. And so with respect to other portions of the 
sacred volume, many of the circumstances leading to 
the composition of which are notorious matters of fact ; 
and others, though not recorded, may easily be imagined 
to have arisen out of the position occupied by the 
writers, or the relations in which they stood to the 
communities or individuals to whom they wrote. But 
whatever these circumstances or occasions may have 
been, they were all under the control of the Holy 
Spirit, by whom they were employed to indicate to his 
inspired instruments that it was his pleasure they 
should reduce to writing what, in each particular case, 
he might commission them to deliver. The penmen 
exercised their own judgment, and felt the force of 
such motives as the nature of each case suggested ; yet 
in the formation of this judgment, and in the presenta- 


tion of these motives, a special divine influence was 
exerted, which invested them with a cogency and 
efficiencj, which infallibly secured the certainty of the 

The excitement, however, of which we treat, did 
not consist merely in the presentation to the mind of 
the sacred penmen of a divine command, or of such 
circumstances as unequivocally indicated the Divine 
will: it further included the impelling power of the 
Spirit, by which they were rendered willing to under- 
take the task which he assigned to them. Owing to 
a variety of causes, they might, like Jonah, have refused 
to comply with the will of God. The depravity of 
their nature might have overpowered the gracious 
principles which would otherwise have induced them 
to engage in the work. To counteract the influence 
of this depravity, and to give a decided preponderance 
to their better views and feelings, the Sovereign Agent, 
from whose ordinary operations these had sprung, 
superadded those degrees of miraculous influence which 
the mental condition of each required. Possessed of 
omnipotence, he might have operated upon their minds 
as he did upon that of Balaam, and compelled them, 
contrary to their natural inclination, to perform his 
will ; but such a mode of effecting his purpose would 
have ill accorded with the state of acceptance, and 
other spiritual relations, in which they stood. His 
inspiring influence was exerted in harmony with the 
work of grace of which they were the subjects, and 
wrought specially upon their wills, effectually inducing 
them to a cheerful concurrence in the act of recording 
matters of Divine revelation. The impulse by which 


they were excited was powerful, but placid ; efficacious, 
yet gentle in its operation on their rational faculties. 

Secondly, there was an Invig oration experienced by 
the inspired writers, by which their natural faculties 
were elevated above the imperfections, which would 
have incapacitated them from receiving those commu- 
nications of a higher order with which they were 
favoured ; and by which also they were enabled per- 
fectly to recollect and infallibly to reason respecting 
truths and facts, with which they were previously 
acquainted, but which, owing to the lapse of time or 
the decay of mental vigour, they were unfit, without 
such supernatural aid, accurately and fully to make 
known to the world. To this modification of the 
Divine influence is usually given the name of elevation, 
which is sufficiently appropriate as denoting the 
capacity that was imparted to the inspired recipients 
of divine truth to apprehend the more sublime and 
transcendent subjects, which they were to communicate 
to others ; but it does not so properly express the 
removal of those other disabilities under which they 
naturally laboured. To express both, the term invi- 
goration is preferable, and its adoption is the more 
appropriate, as it corresponds to that of Ivvajxic, or 
powe7% which the Saviour specially promised to his 
disciples to qualify them for the discharge of their 
important functions. (Luke xxiv. 49 ; Acts i. 8.) It 
is to the direct influence of this supernatural energy, 
that Paul refers, when he avows, that he and his 
fellow-labourers possessed no native power of their 
own to excogitate or produce any of those truths which 


they taught : " Not that we are sufficient of ourselves 
" to think anything as of ourselves ; but our sufficiency 
"is of God." (2 Cor. iii. 5.) Their entire fitness for 
the service which they were called to perform, he 
ascribes to the operation of "the power of God." 
(Ch. vi. 7.)^ This energy strengthened their mental 
powers — giving expansion to the understanding, quick- 
ness to the perception, vividness to the imagination, 
vigour to the memory, and solidity to the judgment, — 
whereby they were rendered capable of receiving and 
communicating those matters of Divine revelation, to 
which their minds were otherwise totally inadequate. 
In vindicating to the sacred writers this invigorating 
influence, we would not be understood as maintaining 
that it imparted to them properties in any degree 
bordering upon omniscience or impeccability. All we 
contend for is, that, in proportion as they required its 
exercise in order to capacitate them, as percipient and 
intelligent instruments, infallibly to publish or record 
the truths and facts of revelation, it was vouchsafed to 
them. At other times, and in reference to other sub- 
jects, it left them in the ordinary circumstances of 
humanity. Hence we find, that, at the very time when 
Paul addressed language to the high-priest Ananias, 
which cannot be viewed in any other light than that of 
a prophetic denunciation, he was left in ignorance of the 
station which Ananias filled. On being reproved for 
using such language, he replied, " I wist not, brethren, 
" that he was the high-priest : for it is written. Thou 
" shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people." 
Attempts have been made to defend the plenary inspi- 

(1) Compare rtp evdvi/aixtitvavTi fxe Xpia-rif 'Ir^aov. (1 Tim. i. 12.) 


ration of the apostle on this occasion, but they are too 
arbitrary and forced to admit of adoption : the only 
construction that the words will fairly bear is, either, 
that, strictly speaking, he did not know who the indi- 
vidual was who had ordered him to be struck ; or, that 
he had not, at the moment, considered or recollected 
the office which he held. The former solution seems 
the preferable: but, according to either the apostle 
spoke from ignorance, which the Holy Spirit did not 
see fit to remove. The same fact is confirmed by the 
manner in which he speaks of the number of converts, 
whom he had baptized at Corinth : " I baptized also 
" the household of Stephanas : besides, I know not 
" whether I baptized any other." He here admits 
that his memory did not serve him so as to enable him 
accurately to specify the persons in question : which 
proves, that, how powerful soever might have been 
the invigorating influence of inspiration, which was 
vouchsafed to him at other times, that specific kind of 
influence was not put forth on this occasion, though he 
was otherwise inspired at the moment he wrote. The 
reason must be obvious to every one. It was a matter 
of no moment whatever that the apostle should definitely 
fix the number of persons whom he had baptized : all 
that it was requisite for him to know and state was 
their paucity, which he appositely alleges in proof of 
his disinterestedness and freedom from party-spirit, 
when labouring in the city of Corinth. His zeal was 
not a zeal for baptism, but for the gospel of Christ. 

In like manner, the promise made by our Saviour, 
that the Holy Spirit should aid the memories of his 
disciples, is necessarily to be restricted to their recol- 


lection of such things as pertained to the discharge of 
their office. They are indeed limited by himself to 
those instructions which he had orally imparted to 
them. " He shall bring all things to your remembrance, 
" whatever I have said unto you," (John xiv. 26 ;) but 
since the promise was designed to assure them of their 
complete qualification for their work, and since they 
were to bear testimony to what Jesus had done and 
suffered as well as to what he had taught, they might 
justly infer, that they would be endowed by the Com- 
forter with the recollection of every point, even the 
most minute, which had any bearing upon the efficient 
execution of their trust. Beyond this, however, we 
have no warrant to extend it. 

In the third place, it clearly appears from the facts 
of the case, that, in writing many parts of Sacred 
Scripture, the divine influence enjoyed by the penmen 
was that of simple, yet infallible, Sujjerintendence. 
By this is meant the watchful care which was exer- 
cised over them, when, in performing their task, they 
made use of their own observation, or availed them- 
selves of their previous knowledge, of existing docu- 
ments, or of other external sources, to which they had 
access. In virtue of this divine guardianship, they 
were preserved from all error or mistake, and com- 
mitted to writing for the benefit of posterity nothing 
but what was deemed proper by Infinite Wisdom. 
That they actually knew much of what they have 
written, independently of the aid of inspiration, cannot 
be denied. They only required, therefore, in such 
case, to be excited to commit what they thus knew to 


writing, and to be so controlled, while engaged in 
writing, as to produce it with accuracy and truth. 
As long as their natural faculties were adequate to the 
task, and when, on being supernaturally excited, they 
took precisely that course which its proper execution 
required, they were employed without further aid by 
the Spirit of Inspiration : but whenever they would 
have taken a wrong direction, or when there was the 
slightest liability to present the matters to be recorded 
in a light, or in an order, that would, in any degree, 
have deteriorated from their utility, his divine influence 
interposed to prevent or remove it. By the law of 
association, when one idea is awakened in the mind, it 
gives rise to a train of other ideas, which more or less 
possess a natural connection with it. Now there is no 
reason to believe, that the operation of this law of 
combination and correspondence was suspended in the 
sacred writers. On the contrary, it is in accordance 
with all that we otherwise know of the Divine works 
to conclude, that it was rendered available to the 
extent of its efficiency, and that it was only where it 
failed to produce correct and appropriate results, that 
a higher degree of inspiration was employed. 

That the book of Genesis was, in part, composed 
from previously existing documents, or from true tra- 
ditionary accounts existing in the church at the time 
of its composition by Moses ; that the books of Kings 
and Chronicles are chiefly made up of extracts or 
abridgments from the original annals or diaries of the 
several kings of Judah and Israel ; -that Ezra availed 
himself of authentic documents, which he found among 
the Jews on his arrival at Jerusalem; and that the 



book of Esther is, for the most part, a translated extract 
from " the book of the Chronicles of the kings of Media 
and Persia ;" — are points which are now very generally 
admitted among those who are convei^ant with Biblical 
criticism/ Now we contend, that, in composing or 
writing out these books, when once the minds of the 
writers had been prompted by divine influence to com- 
mence at any given point, they could not possibly 
require further assistance than such as preserved their 
natural faculties in a sound and composed state, or 
such as prevented them from committing any errors of 
transcription, which might at all affect the truth or 
effectiveness of their copies. Where selection, omis- 
sion, or addition took place, a higher influence of course 
was necessary, and, when thus required, was doubtless 
vouchsafed : but apart from any such modifications of 
their labour, they appear to have pursued the same 
track, which they would have taken had they been 
acting from a mere impulse of their own minds — only 
under the constant supervision and infallibly conserva- 
tive influence of the Divine Spirit. 

To this view of the subject it has been objected, that 
" superintendency is not inspiration," that it includes 
nothing but what may be claimed by uninspired men, 
and consequently, that if the theory which asserts it 
be true, the greatest part of the Bible is not the word 
of God at all. All this seems very specious ; but it 
cannot, for a moment, be admitted by any, who look 
fairly at the facts of the case, and whose views are 
based, not upon an isolated, monogrammatic idea of 
inspiration, but upon the broad foundation furnished 

(1) See Note T. 


by the sacred history, and our knowledge of the analo- 
gous proceedings of the Divine Being. If inspiration 
were, in all cases, nothing else than a simple and im- 
mediate infusion of the matter and words into the 
minds of the writers, then, it must be allowed, all dis- 
tinctions would not only be useless but impious ; but, 
if there be satisfactory evidence to prove, that such 
was not the case, but that it consisted in the employ- 
ment of Divine influence, modified according to the 
exigency of circumstances, so as to secure to the entire 
record the indubitable character of the Book op God, 
the objection is perfectly nugatory, and leaves the 
question precisely where it was. 

It may be said, that superintendence cannot be 
called inspiration, since it is merely a negative quality, 
whereas inspiration is positive in its nature. But the 
objection would only apply on the principle, that the 
term inspiration is to be restricted in its signification 
to the idea of direct or immediate revelation. Taken 
in its more extended acceptation, as comprehending 
the totality of supernatural influence employed by 
Jehovah for the production of the sacred Scriptures, 
it may include superintendence as well as any other of 
the modes in which that influence was made to tell on 
the rational instruments by whom they were composed. 
It is not, however, correct to assert, that superin- 
tendence is negative and not positive in its nature. 
Is there nothing positive in that superintending Pro- 
vidence, by which the order of things in the vast 
universe of being is maintained ? Is the God in whom 
we believe, like the deity of the ancient philosophers, 
who, after having arranged the different parts of the 


world from pre-existing materials, abandoned it to its 
fate, having no intercourse with its inhabitants, looking 
at it from a distance, and taking no further efficient 
concern in its affairs ? Do we not rather attach to the 
superintendence of his Providence the idea of watchful 
and active control, by which the universe is preserved 
in being, and prevented from taking any course for 
which no provision was made in his eternal, all-wise, 
and holy scheme of government ? When we speak of 
the care with which he watches over our interests, we 
justly conceive of it as an active vigilance, which is 
incessantly exerted, in consequence of which all that 
would prove injurious to us is warded off, and every 
thing supplied, which is contributory to our good. In 
like manner, the special superintendency experienced 
by the inspired writers was an active, preserving 
influence, in virtue of which, they were positively pre- 
vented from inserting in their compositions any thing 
that would prove inconsistent with their design. 

We now proceed, in the fourth place, to remark, that 
Guidance was another of the modes in which divine 
inspiration operated upon the penmen of Scripture. 
This view of the subject is suggested by that part of 
our Lord's gracious promise to his apostles, that the 
Paraclete should ''lead them into all truth." The 
word selected for the purpose of expressing this guid- 
ance {ocr)ye~iv\ properly signifies to point out, or lead 
any one into a road, and, metaphorically, to teach or 
instruct. In the latter sense, it is used by the Ethiopian 
eunuch, when intimating the impossibility of his under- 
standing the passage of Isaiah, which he had been 


reading, without foreign assistance, by which he might 
be put into the right track, and arrive at a proper 
conception of its meaning. It is also employed in the 
LXX. to express the signification of the Hebrew verbs 
"flT?, "T'^i^, ^h ^^4^ ^""^j to cause to walk, or lead in a 
way, conduct, point out, teach, (Josh. xxiv. 3. Exod. 
xiii. 7. Ps. Ixxx. 2; Ixxxvi. 11 ; xxv. 5.) By the 
influence thus exerted, the apostles were to be directed 
into the whole truth (jraaav tyiv aXrjdeiar), or the entire 
system of Christian doctrine ; — comprehending the 
(noXka) numerous topics on which they needed instruc- 
tion, but which, during our Lord's public ministry, 
their prejudices and slowness of comprehension had 
prevented him from bringing before them. (John x vi. 12.) 
By the descent of the promised Spirit these impedi- 
ments were removed, and they were conducted to 
deeper and more enlarged views of the great principles 
of the gospel dispensation. Under his direction, they 
taught both orally and by writing ; and as the same 
Spirit, in former times, moved " the holy men of God," 
or bore them onward to the delivery of his messages, 
it is obvious both prophets and apostles were upon 
a level in regard to the infallible guidance which they 
■enjoyed. They were not left to choose their own way. 
The path in which they were to proceed was pointed 
out to them. They were supernaturally excited and 
strengthened to walk in it. Supernal guardianship 
was vouchsafed to them ; and whatever instruction 
they required with respect to the regions of truth, 
which lay before or around them, was fully imparted. 
Moses was unerringly taught what to incorporate 
of the pre-existent documents, which had served as 


repositories of the divine revelations, and what histo- 
rical facts to select from the events of his own times ; 
Samuel, and the prophets that followed, what historical, 
devotional, ethical, and prophetical matter to collect 
and record ; the evangelists, what portions of our Lord's 
discourses and what incidents of his life to appropriate; 
and the apostles, what points of doctrine and duty to 
choose, and what aspects of truth to present in their 
epistolary writings, which should, when ultimately 
embodied in one whole, prove a copious storehouse of 
inspired directions for the benefit of the church in all 
future ages. In the selection, order, and combination 
of the facts to be narrated ; in the particular line of 
argument to be employed ; in the directions and admo- 
nitions to be tendered ; and in the peremptory decisions 
to be given on all points connected with the kingdom 
of God — they were favoured with the teaching of an 
infallible guide, to whose omniscient view were present 
at the time all the diversified circumstances of those 
into whose hands the Scriptures would come, and who 
adapted his instructions so as most exactly to meet 
them. This arrangement of the sacred materials is 
vastly different from that which human wisdom would 
have adopted; but this very circumstance only fur- 
nishes an additional proof, that the writers were not 
abandoned to the operations of their own intellect, but 
were specially aided by wisdom given to them from 
above. (2 Peter iii. 15.) 

The last and highest species of inspiration, with 
Avhich we believe the sacred penmen to have been 
endowed, is that of direct Revelation. Besides the 


various subjects to which we have adverted, as coming 
within the sphere of their external cognizance, or that 
were matters of personal consciousness, in recording 
which they only required to be under the special 
superintendence and direction of the Holy Spirit, many 
are to be found in their writings of a description, 
which clearly evinces that they were the result of an 
immediate influence upon their minds, by which con- 
ceptions were produced without the interposition of 
any human agency whatever. To this head are to be 
referred all those doctrines, which had previously been 
hid in the Divine mind ; all knowledge of past events, 
respecting which no record or tradition existed; all 
acquaintance with circumstances present in point of 
existence, but of which the writers could not but be 
totally ignorant ; and all communications respecting 
future contingent events, the foreknowledge of which 
is the sole prerogative of Deity. Whatever is found 
in Scripture in the form of a divine purpose, promise, 
OP threatening, comes under this class. Now with 
these both the prophetic and apostolic Scriptures 
abound. How frequently are such portions of the 
Old Testament introduced by the solemn formula: 
Thus saith the LORD ! The matters contained in 
them were directly imparted to the holy seers, to 
whose mental vision were presented scenes of present 
or future reality, which no effort of human imagination 
could possibly have depicted. Times, places, persons, 
occurrences, were distinctly brought under their view; 
and though, with respect to some of these, they were 
not able to form definite conceptions, yet the Spirit of 
prophecy enabled them, without abatement, addition, 


or colouring, to enter them correctly in the records of 
truth. Where verbal inspiration was necessary, it was 
vouchsafed to them. 

Nor was this direct revelation confined to the pro- 
phets under the ancient economy. It was likewise 
granted to the apostles under the new. When Paul is 
contrasting the simplicity of the gospel with the high- 
sounding philosophy of the world, he declares that 
such was nevertheless the profoundness of its doctrines, 
that the human mind had never conceived of them ; 
and then specifies the manner in which he and his 
fellow-labourers had been made acquainted with them. 
" Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have 
" entered into the heart of man, the things which God 
" hath prepared for them that love him. But God 


" the Spirit searcheth all things ; yea, the deep things 
" of God. For what man knoweth the things of a 
" man, save the spirit of man, which is in him? even 
" so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit 
" of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of 
" the world, but the. spirit which is of God ; that we 
" might know the things that are freely given to us 
" of God." (1 Cor. ii. 9—12.) AVith respect to the 
apostle himself, he explicitly teaches the Galatians 
that his knowledge of the gospel was matter of pure 
revelation : " But I certify you, brethren, that the 
" gospel which is preached of me is not after man. 
" For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught 
" it, but (Et ciTroKaXvxlieijjQ 'Itj(tou Xpiarou) BY THE 
" REVELATION of Jesus Christ." (Gal. i. 11, 12.) It 
had neither been communicated to him, in its first 


principles, by any human being, nor had he received 
more mature instruction in these principles from any 
who had been in Christ before him. He was indebted 
for the truths which he taught to no external means 
whatever, but exclusively to a supernatural or direct 
revelation made to him by the Redeemer. The same 
fact he asserts Eph. iii. 1 — 5 : " For this cause I Paul, 
" prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles : if ye have 
" heard of the dispensation of the grace of God, which 
" is given me to you-ward : how that (fcara aTronaXvxl^iv), 
" BY REVELATION, he made known unto me the 
" mystery, (as I wrote afore in few words, whereby, 
" when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in 
" the mystery of Christ,) which in other ages was not 
" made known unto the sons of men, as it is now 
" (aTreKaXvcjjdr)) REVEALED unto the holy apostles and 
" prophets by the Spirit." To immediate inspiration 
he also ascribes his knowledge of the ordinance of 
" the Lord's Supper," (1 Cor. xi. 23,) which circum- 
stance, taken in connection with certain others occa- 
sionally occurring in his Epistles, clearly establishes 
the principle, that his acquaintance with the institu- 
tions, as well as the doctrines of Christianity, was 
wholly the result of direct communications from above. 
That these were numerous is implied in his statement : 
" It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will 
" come to visions and (cLTroKaXvxpeig) revelations of 
" the Lord." (2 Cor. xii. L) The language which he 
employs, when about to describe the characters of the 
apostasy, conducts us to the same conclusion : " The 
Spirit speaketh expressly." That, by this clear and 
unequivocal enunciation of the Spirit (prjrCJg, o-a^wf 


<l>avripu)g) we are to understand what the Spirit imme- 
diately spoke through him at the moment he was 
writing, and not any predictions of the Old Testament, 
nor any prophetic oracles delivered by other inspired 
men in the apostolic age, appears best to comport with 
the nature of the subject, and the high station which 
the apostle occupied in the church. We remark, 
finally, that the inspired title of the last book in the 
New Testament canon conveys most pointedly the idea 
of instruction supernaturally communicated: 'ATrofcci- 
\v\piQ 'Ir](Tov XpLff-ov, a development of future events 
directly furnished by the Son of God to the Apostle 
John in ecstatic vision. 

From a review, therefore, of all the facts of the case, 
and from analogy, it appears convincingly evident, 
that a diversity of degrees or modes of operation did 
exist in regard to the extraordinary influence which 
was vouchsafed to the penmen of sacred Scripture; 
and that this diversity was the result of infinite 
wisdom, adapting its operations to the existing circum- 
stances of the instruments who were thus employed, 
and to the nature of the subjects which they were to 
record. And it appears equally clear, that, except we 
admit such diversity, it is impossible to form correct 
scriptural ideas of the subject, or to arrive at those 
conclusions respecting it, which shall prove satisfactory 
to the inquisitive mind. 

Nor can the distinction, which we have endeavoured 
to establish, be justly chargeable with an aspect, in the 
slightest degree, hostile to the divine authority of any 
part of Scripture. There is no portion of that holy 


book which was written independently of miraculous 
influence. Those parts, as we have already observed, 
which were composed under what may be considered 
as the lowest degree of inspiration, are, in so far as the 
book itself is concerned, equally inspired with that 
which resulted from the highest. In either case, and 
in all the supposable intermediate stages, the end was 
infallibly attained, viz. the commitment to writing of 
precisely such matters as God designed for the religious 
instruction of mankind. The whole volume is divinely 
inspired. Every part of it is to be received in the 
light in which it has been presented by the Holy Spirit ; 
and is to be appHed to the holy purposes for which he 
caused it to be written. Exceptions have been incon- 
siderately taken against such passages as those in 
which Paul advises Timothy, "Drink no longer 
" water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake, 
" and thine often infirmities ;" and desires him to bring 
" the cloak which he had left at Ephesus," &c. (1 Tim. 
V. 22 ; 2 Epist. iv. 13) ; but neither these, nor hundreds 
of similar passages, would ever have proved a stumbling- 
block to any, had it not been for the contracted hypo- 
thesis of inspiration, with which they certainly are in 
direct collision. On the principles which we have laid 
down, they present not the smallest difficulty, since 
they were dictated by him who could say : " We have 
the Spirit of Christ ;" and who was as really inspired 
when he wrote them, as he was when he wrote to the 
Ephesians, "Be not drunk with wine, wherein is 
excess; but be filled with the Spirit;" or when he 
ordered his Epistle to the Colossians to be read also in 
the church of the Laodiceans, (Col. iv. 1 6.) In all 


such cases the sacred penmen wrote what had for its 
object, not merely the immediate benefit of individual 
persons, or individual churches, but what would be 
useful to Christians in all future times. In the minute 
as well as in the great; in matters which relate to 
civil life and bodily comfort, as well as in those which 
respect the soul and the world to come, the Divine 
wisdom is apparent ; so that, contemplating the most 
inconsiderable of them, we are compelled to say: 
" This also cometh forth from the Lord of hosts, who 
" is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working." 



1 COR. II. 13. 

" Which things also we speaTc, not in the words which 
man's wisdom teacheth, hut which the Holy Ghost teach- 
eth : comparing spiritual things with spiritual.'''' 

In the last Lecture, we entered at some length into 
the nature of the superior influence, which the writers 
of Scripture enjoyed when composing the sacred 
books, and showed, that, though there was a diversity 
of operation in the employment of this influence, 
adapted to their different circumstances and exigencies, 
it was, in all cases, such as to claim for every portion 
of the work, which they executed, the high character 
of a Divine sanction. Their inspiration was proved to 
be plenary, and, consequently, demands for the writings 
to which it attaches, an unqualified reception from all 
within whose reach they are placed. 

We now advance to the discussion of the question 
respecting verbal inspiration, which embraces both 
the style of the sacred writers, and the single terms, in 
which they have expressed themselves. As appeared 


from our Introductory Lecture, there have been and 
still are those who maintain, that these writers not 
only had all the ideas immediately communicated to 
their minds by the Holy Spirit, but that their very 
style, including every word, syllable and letter, was 
equally the result of pure organic inspiration. To 
deny this, is, in their opinion, to sap the very foundation 
of the doctrine ; to withhold from the Scriptures that 
sacred veneration to which they are entitled ; and to 
reduce them to a level with mere human writings. 
Others, who as decidedly believe in the complete in- 
spiration of the Bible, and will not concede that any 
part of it was written independently of Divine influ- 
ence, nevertheless hold, that the hypothesis of an 
universal, immediate verbal inspiration cannot be sus- 
tained ; but that a modified view may be taken of the 
subject, which will reconcile apparently conflicting 
phenomena, and present it in a light which must 
recommend it to all persons of calm and impartial 

To the latter view we frankly confess we are com- 
pelled to give our adhesion. Not that we approve of 
much that has been written by authors, who at different 
times have opposed the contrary oj)inion. It is mani- 
fest, that owing both to the want of precision in their 
conceptions of the subject, and the unguarded manner 
in which they have expressed themselves, many of 
them have given a handle to the verbalists, of which 
they have not been slow to take advantage, to the no 
small disparagement of the cause of truth, and the 
unjust aspersion of some of its advocates. But while 
we object to certain representations which have been 


made, and certain terms which have been employed by 
these authors, it- is our settled conviction, that accurate 
views of that side of the question, which they have 
generally supported, are alone compatible with the 
aspects, under which the doctrine is exhibited iu the 
holy Scriptures. 

That, to a certain extent, verbal inspiration, or the 
inspiration of words, took place, is not denied. In 
recording matters immediately spoken at the time by 
an audible voice by Jehovah, or by an angel-inter- 
preter ; in giving expression to points of revelation 
which entirely surpassed the comjDrehension of the 
writers ; in recording prophecies the minute bearings 
of which they did not perceive ; in presenting view^s of 
truth, or enacting institutions, which belonged to a 
different economy, and to which there was nothing 
analogous in preceding dispensations ; in short, in 
committing to writing any of the dictates of the Spirit, 
which they could not otherwise have accurately ex- 
pressed, the writers were supplied with the words as 
well as the matter. 

But, that on other occasions, and in reference to 
other matters, the appropriate terms were either me- 
diately suggested by the ideas, or presented in docu- 
ments which were rendered available for the purposes 
of divine revelation, is a position which w^e conceive 
we are fully authorized to maintain. Before proceed- 
ing, however, to discuss the subject of the inspiration 
of single words, it may be proper to make a few re- 
marks on that of style ; since, how closely soever the} 
are connected as parts and a whole, they are clearly 
susceptible of separate consideration, and may or may 


not have been the distinct effects of direct inspiration. 
The existence of great diversity of style in Scripture 
will be denied by none but persons entirely destitute 
of critical discrimination. Even the ordinary readers 
of a translation cannot but be more or less struck with 
this diversity ; but it is more perceptible by persons of 
cultivated minds, and especially by such as are capable 
of perusing the originals. Not only are there all the 
essential differences by which poetical and prose com- 
positions are distinguished from each other — the former 
exhibiting the varied characters of the Lyric, the Epic, 
the Elegiac, the Parabolic, and the Didactic ; and the 
latter those of the Historical and Epistolary ; but every 
writer has his own characteristics, and different parts 
of the same book are marked by peculiarities of feature, 
in perfect accordance with the varied state of the 
author's feelings, or the different subjects of which he 
treats. No two of the sacred penmen were placed in 
precisely the same circumstances. They were men of 
various talent ; unlike in their habits of thought, and 
dissimilar in their natural temperament and dispositions. 
From Moses the commander and legislator, or David 
and Solomon the monarchs of Israel, to Amos the 
herdsman of Tekoah; and from Luke the physician, 
to Peter the fisherman of Galilee — we meet with all 
the diversified grades of intellectual endowment and 
mental culture, which might be reasonably expected in 
persons so circumstanced. Hence the corresponding 
diversity of style, which is presented to view in their 
compositions: — the antique simplicity and the energy 
of Moses ; the feeling and gracefulness of David ; the 
sententiousness and elegance of Solomon ; the majesty 


and sublimity of Isaiah ; the sensibility and plain- 
tiveness of Jeremiah ; the magnificence and solemnity 
of Ezekiel ; the argumentativeness and vehemence of 
Paul ; and the tenderness and affection of " the disciple 
whom Jesus loved." They have each his own peculiar 
character — a character, which they have in so remark- 
able a degree communicated to their writings, that it 
furnishes one of the most striking and satisfactory 
evidences of their authenticity. They severally exhibit 
a distinctiveness of cast or manner, which, nevertheless, 
in each is perfectly natural — being that which exactly 
agrees with our historical knowledge of his times and 

The several particulars that have just been enume- 
rated relate to the bolder features of style by which 
these writers are distinguishable. Besides these, there 
exist numberless minute peculiarities of diction, such 
as the frequent recurrence of favourite words, niceties 
of grammatical construction, idiomatic combinations, 
dialectic differences, groupings of synonym es, and the 
like, which most distinctly mark the authors of the 
respective books. 

With these matters of fact before us, what is the 
conclusion to which we should reasonably come respect- 
ing the source to which they are to be traced? Preju- 
dice apart, should we not ascribe them to a diversity 
of natural talent, to the various situations of the writers, 
to the character of the subjects on which they wrote, 
and to the impressions which such subjects were cal- 
culated to produce upon their minds ? Would it be 
imagined by any who are at all conversant with 
enlightened principles of mental philosophy, or with 


the general procedure of Divine Providence, that on 
such an occasion, God entirely departed from his usual 
method of operation, and, by an immediate action of 
his Spirit upon the minds of the holy penmen, produced 
a class of phenomena, which, though not perhaps all 
in the same degree, have assuredly existed in number- 
less instances in the ordinary history of mankind? 
If we take up the human productions of any given age, 
and. compare them with each other, we find a similar 
diversity of style pervading them : — a diversity for 
which we account on principles of acknowledged 
validity in their application to the case. But the 
same principles apply to the case before us; and 
must be regarded as equally valid in their bearing 
upon it, except it can be shown, that there is some- 
thing in inspiration, which requires an exception to 
the rule. 

It is readily conceded, that, on many occasions, the 
diction of the Biblical writers was the result of imme- 
diate inspiration, and was such as they would not have 
employed but for this inspiration. But in other in- 
stances, we contend, that the Holy Spirit made use of 
their natural style or manner of writing. Whatever 
change Divine grace effected in their character, it 
neither destroyed nor disturbed their peculiar intellec- 
tual operations, but, turning them into a new and 
nobler channel, consecrated them to the service of God. 
In like manner, when they became the subjects of that 
extraordinary miraculous influence in which we have 
defined inspiration to consist, he did not unmake their 
mental constitution, suspend the natural operation of 
their faculties, or prevent them from being acted upon 


by circumstances ; but adapted his inspirations to the 
physical and intellectual features of each, and rendered 
these, to the extent in which they were available, sub- 
servient to the revelation or the recording of his will. 
It was only when the style or diction in which these 
features became embodied, proved inappropriate, that 
a direct supply was afforded, and then only so long as 
the exigency continued. They otherwise wrote, each 
in his own manner, yet always secured by celestial 
influence against the adoption of any forms of speech, 
or collocations of words, that would, in any degree, 
have injured the exhibition of divine truth, or that did 
not adequately give it expression. 

There has unaccountably been mixed up with the 
question of style, in its bearing upon inspiration, 
another respecting classical purity, which has nothing 
whatever to do with it. To contend for Attic purity 
and elegance in the writings of the apostles, may have 
been deemed requisite at a time when disputes ran 
high on the subject of the New Testament Greek — 
just as it was at one time accounted heterodox to doubt 
of the divine origin of the Hebrew vowel points ; but 
now that the contest has in a great measure ceased, 
and Biblical scholars have very generally settled down 
into moderate views, the hypothesis that, if the language, 
was inspired at all, it must necessarily exist in a state 
of perfect freedom from what are commonly termed 
barbarisms or inelegancies, will not be maintained by 
persons of any pretensions to a competent acquaintance 
with the subject. The style of the writers of Scrip- 
ture, notwithstanding its distinctive varieties, is pre- 
cisely that which, as a whole, was best adapted to be 


a medium for the conveyance of truths, that were de- 
signed not for the polished and learned only, but for 
men of every nation under heaven, and of all the diver- 
sified conditions of human life. For while there is 
nothing in it that is calculated to give offence to per- 
sons of enlarged and cultivated minds, it possesses 
a genuine simplicity, and a condescension to men of 
low estate, which renders it attractive to those on 
whom classical elegance would have been lavished in 

Some, who strenuously contend for verbal inspira- 
tion, allow that there is a variety in this general style 
of language which it pleased Divine Wisdom to select, 
and that every feature by which one writer was distin- 
guished from another was natural to him, and accorded 
with the particular tone or state of his own mind ; but 
still they maintain that it was a matter of immediate 
direct inspiration. Now no position can be more glar- 
ingly inconsistent or self-contradictory. If the charac- 
teristic differences were immediately inspired, they could 
not by any possibility have been natural to the w^riters, 
nor can they in any sense be called their own ; and if 
they were already in possession of them, it would be 
an utter perversion of language, and the very acme of 
absurdity, to assert that they were now first super- 
naturally infused. It is one thing for the Holy Spirit 
to have employed these styles, and something altogether 
different for him to have created them. Existing, as 
we conceive them, for the most part, to have done, 
previously to their being used for the nobler purposes 

(1) See on this subject a beautiful passage iii Origen cont. Celsum, lib. vii. 
towards the close. 


of inspiration, they were called forth quite in a rational 
way ; i. e. those, whose language they characterised, 
on being acted upon by the Divine Spirit, expressed 
themselves, on the whole, just as they would have done 
in ordinary circumstances. Some may deem it a 
lowering of the subject to admit that the influence of 
an Infinite and AU-perfect Agent should in any shape 
or degree have been moulded by individual character, 
or the peculiar conformations of intellectual and moral 
habits ; or, that it should at all have accommodated 
itself to existing circumstances in the history or expe- 
rience of its recipients. But the question relates to 
matter of fact. It is not for us to argue what it might, 
or might not, be proper for God to do, or that such and 
such modes of procedure would be derogatory to the 
majesty and glory of his character as a Being of infinite 
perfection. The query is, Whether sufiicient data be 
not furnished by the history of the inspired penmen 
and the results of their inspiration as exhibited in their 
writings to prove, that, whatever may be the stamp of 
perfection which attaches to the matter of revelation, 
considered absolutely in itself, yet in passing through 
their minds as rational instruments, or in assuming the 
ordinary forms of human language, it was adapted 
to the peculiar moulds into which it thus flowed? 
If we find that the sacred influence has actually been 
e?:erted in this manner, instead of stumbling at the 
fact, it becomes us to admire the infinite condescension 
which has been displayed in providing us with the 
certain means of spiritual instruction in a way so 
manifestly accommodated to the diversified states of 
the human intellect. 


In entering upon the subject of verbal inspiration 
strictly taken, or the consideration of the hypothesis, 
that in committing the contents of the Bible to writing, 
the i^enmen had all the terms immediately supplied to 
them by the influence of the Holy Spirit, it may be 
necessary to premise, that nothing can be more unjust 
than to charge those who deny it with a rejection of 
the doctrine of inspiration, while they most explicitly 
avow their belief in its plenary and infallible charac- 
ters. It is possible, indeed, to make a profession of 
belief in any doctrine, and yet to give the lie to this 
profession by conduct at variance with the claims 
advanced by the alleged object of faith; but if any 
person solemnly protests, that he holds no partial or 
imperfect inspiration of the Scriptures, but regards 
them as entirely the result of divine intervention, and 
in his treatment of them furnishes convincing evidence 
that he does so regard them — receiving their contents 
with a mind willing in all things to yield uncompro- 
mising obedience to their dictates, as the oracles of 
Jehovah, — we are bound to give credit to his asseve- 
ration, and consider him as a consistent believer, what- 
ever consequences others may draw from his premises, 
or in what light soever they may think fit to represent 
him. That the position at issue is perfectly untenable 
we maintain on the following grounds. 

First, The universality of the immediate inspiration 
of the words is nowhere asserted in Scripture. From 
the degree of confidence with which the contrary 
opinion has been advanced, it might be imagined that 
divine testimonies in its favour were neither few nor 


obscure; or rather, it might be expected, that they 
were so numerous, and so clear and definite in their 
character, as irresistibly to compel assent from all who 
bow to the authority of Scripture. And it must be 
confessed that its advocates have not been slow in 
producing quotations both from the Old and New Tes- 
taments, which, in sound and appearance, yield a 
plausible support to their views. To the specious 
weight of authority thus presented, numbers have suc- 
cumbed, the piety of whose feelings naturally revolted 
from the idea so loudly reprobated, that any part of 
the Bible should be conceived of as not having pro- 
ceeded directly from the Holy Spirit, but whose ac- 
quaintance with the history of revelation, and a just 
method of interpretation, was too limited to enable 
them to detect the false construction that has been put 
upon the texts to which the appeal has been made. 
When brought, however, to the touchstone of sober 
and impartial criticism, and viewed, not in the light of 
arbitrary etymologies and false emphases, or wholly 
independent of the connections in which they occur, 
but according to the correct application of grammatical 
and hermeneutical rules, founded on the general prin- 
ciples of language, and the circumstances peculiar to 
the writers of Scripture, including all the phenomena 
of the particular cases, it will be found that the terms 
or statements in question give no countenance to the 
theory into the service of which they have been pressed. 
The doctrine of inspiration many of these texts most 
unequivocally teach. We have employed them in proof 
of it. But who, that reflects for a moment on the 
subject, will contend, that, because they teach the 


doctrine as a general matter of fact, they must neces- 
sarily exhibit a certain assumed aspect of it to the 
exclusion of every other? Who does not perceive, that 
the complete and universal inspiration of the word of 
God, and the immediate communication to the writers 
of every single term of which that word is composed, 
are positions so perfectly distinct, that, though the one 
may be clearly established, there may not be the 
slightest vestige of evidence by which to substantiate 
the other ? The force of these observations will ap- 
pear on investigating the principal passages usually 
alleged in defence of direct verbal inspiration in all 
cases, without exception. 

Of these the first place is generally assigned to 
2 Timothy iii. 16 : "All Scripture is given by inspira- 
tion of God." Here, as we have already proved, the 
divine inspiration of the whole of the Old Testament 
Codex is expressly taught ; and the text will ever 
prove an insurmountable barrier against all attempts 
that may be made to invalidate the supernatural claims 
of that fundamental portion of the sacred volume. 
But on what principle is the theory of direct verbal 
inspiration attempted to be built upon it ? First, it is 
maintained, that as Scripture signifies writing, and 
all writing is made up of written words, or words, 
syllables, and letters, to say, that a writing is inspired, 
while the words are uninspired, is a contradiction in 
terms. Unfortunately, however, for this argument, it 
assumes two points, neither of which will be admitted 
by those who take the opposite view of the subject. 
It takes for granted that verbal inspiration is totally 
or in every sense denied, which is, by no means, the 


case ; and it also affixes to the term inspiration the 
idea of the direct impartation of the words on all occa- 
sions without exception, wholly irrespective of existing 
circumstances in the previous state of the writers' 
mind. It is self-evident, that, if the Scriptures are 
inspired at all, the meaning is, they are inspired as 
written documents : in other words, their contents were 
committed to writing or sanctioned by men, who were 
under the special and extraordinary influence of the 
Holy Spirit. They are the result of the exertion of 
this influence. So much the text asserts, but nothing 
more. It does not affirm, that every word contained 
in the book was supernaturally suggested to the penmen. 
It simply vindicates to the sacred volume the passive 
quality of containing whatever the Spirit of God 
caused to be written for our instruction — implying of 
course the fact of that causation. The position t^en 
by those who contend for verbal inspiration in the 
sense which we oppose, can only be consistently de- 
fended by going the whole length of the rigid punctists, 
who extended the divine influence to every point and 
accent in the Hebrew Bible, as well as to the con- 
sonants or alphabetical letters. " If," says Dr. Gill,' 
" all Scrij^ttire or the v)hole writing of the Bible is 
" bi/ hispiration of God, then not the matter only, but 
'• the words in which it is written, are of divine inspi- 
" ration ; and indeed what else are meant by the words 
" the Holy Ghost teacheth, (1 Cor. ii. 13 :) and if the 
" words of Scripture are of divine inspiration, and 
" given by God himself, then, surely, not half-words, 

(1) Dissertation concerning the Antiquity of tiie Hebrew Language and 
Letters, p. 271. 


" as consonants without vowels are : and if whole 
" words, which is most agreeable to the wisdom and 
" honour of the Divine Being, then both consonants 
" and vowels were given by inspiration." Extravagant 
as this mode of reasoning may appear, it is not more 
so than that by which it is attempted to deduce the 
universality of verbal inspiration from the declaration 
of the apostle in the text before us. For, supposing 
the divine origin of the points and accents to be denied, 
it may still be argued : As written words are made up 
of letters, and cannot exist without them, it follows 
that every letter of Scripture, as well as every word, 
must have been immediately suggested to the writers 
by the Holy Ghost. But is any person in the present 
day prepared to maintain, that Moses was inspired to 
write the feminine pronoun «irt with a Vau instead of 
a Yod so frequently in the Pentateuch ? Or tliat the 
writer of the Books of Chronicles was directed by the 
same immediate suggestion to omit the Yod in the 
proper names of David, (t!1j), and Jerusalem, (d"2uJit)? 
Or, that it was by this verbal inspiration that Isaiah 
wrote in full, chap. xxii. 14, ni«3^ n;n; '3isi? nb::% "It 
was revealed in mine ears by Jehovah of Hosts ;" but 
in chap. v. 9, only elHptically ^'s ''n' ':^s(-i, " In mine 
ears — Jehovah of Hosts :" and that the New Testa- 
ment writers sometimes observe the order adp^ teal al/xa, 
" flesh and blood," and sometimes invert it, as Eph. vi. 
12, "we wrestle not against al/j.a Kal adpKa, blood and 
flesh?" Or finally, (for it would be endless to quote 
examples,) that, when specifying the number of the 
thousands that were sealed, (Rev. vii.) John required 
inspiration to direct him to employ tj3', two Greek 


letters having the numerical power of tAvelve, rather 
than write the word in full, or vice versa ? Strange 
to say, there are still those who confidently hold to 
such positions — actually believing that these minute 
points were the result of Divine suggestion. Yet, 
whoever will attentively examine these, and similar 
phenomena which the sacred text presents to our 
notice, must perceive, that to account for them on the 
principle of immediate inspiration is not only to assert 
what has no foundation in the testimony of Scripture, 
but what is ridiculous in itself, and perfectly degrading 
to the subject in support of which it is alleged. 

Not satisfied with a wire -drawn exposition of the 
term ypap) {Scripture) as here used by the apostle, 
the advocates of direct verbal inspiration also insist on 
the meaning and force of the compound deonvevarog as 
employed to express the inspired quality of the sacred 
writings. As we have already had occasion to remark, 
this term, according to its etymological import, strictly 
signifies divinely -breathed. Some, indeed, consider it 
to have an active signification, and render it divinely- 
breathing ; understanding it to express the fact, that 
the Bible is full of God ; that through the Bible as a 
medium, God breathes forth, or communicates, in 
human language, his will to mankind. But, though it 
cannot be denied, that, according to the analogy of 
aTTvevaroc, one who does not breathe, the word is sus- 
ceptible of this active signification, yet such a construc- 
tion by no means suits the connection, and is not the 
meaning otherwise attaching to the word, or to others 
similarly compounded. The rendering in our common 
version ^' given by inspiration of God" seems to be 


derived partly from the Vulgate, and partly from 
Luther's German,^ of which considerable use was made 
in the execution of most of the translations now pub- 
licly in use in the different Protestant countries of 
Europe ; and it is to the influence of the latter, that 
we are, in some measure, to ascribe the extent to which 
the idea of verbal inspiration has prevailed. If the 
Scriptures were given and wholly given by divine in- 
spiration, then, it is argued, the words must have been 
super naturally imparted. They could not have pre- 
viously been at the command of the writers ; for, if 
this had been the case, they cannot, with propriety of 
language, be said to have been given to them. But 
this reasoning is altogether fallacious. It is based not 
only on a free translation of the original term, but 
upon the strained interpretation of the words of which 
that translation is composed. It attaches to the word 
giveyi a degree of emphasis which it does not possess, 
and which, if it did, could not be admitted in critical 
argument to be of any weight, except the same degree 
of emphasis were discoverable in the original. Yet all 
our translation fairly implies is, that, when the Scrip- 
tures were delivered to men, it was effected by divine 
inspiration. There is not a word to intimate that the 
operation consisted in the communication of the terms 
to the minds of the penmen. The general doctrine of 
inspiration is taught ; but nothing whatever by which 
to determine the particular mode in which the inspira- 
tion operated. And such clearly is the open state in 
which the question is left by the original, and by all 
the versions. 

(1) AUe Schrift von Gott eingegeben. 


Another passage to which an appeal is frequently- 
made in support of the hypothesis of universal verbal 
inspiration is that which contains our text: "Which 
" things also we speak, not in the words which man's 
" wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth, 
" comparing spiritual things with spiritual." Here, it 
is maintained, verbal inspiration is expressly asserted. 
The apostles had not only the matter communicated to 
them by the Spirit which they were to teach to others, 
but they were furnished with the very words in which 
it was to be expressed. That Paul unequivocally 
ascribes both the doctrines, which he and his fellow - 
labourers taught, and their manner of propounding 
them, to the influence of the same Divine Agent, is 
past all dispute ; but that this influence was exerted in 
the way of directly imparting to them every term 
which they employed, has never yet been proved to be 
the idea which he intends to convey. The phrase in 
the original dihaK-oig TrvevfiaToc, does not necessarily 
imply this. On the contrary, it merely conveys the 
idea that the style or mode of expression which they 
used was such as they were instructed by the Spirit to 
employ. It is not asserted that the words were fur- 
nished to them, as Hooker expresses it, " syllable by 
syllable, as the Spirit put them into their mouths ;" * 
but that they were the result of instruction — that 
heavenly instruction or guidance which the Saviour 
promised to his disciples. What proves this to be the 
meaning is the contrast in which ^idaKrolg irvevfxaTOc, 
" the words taught by the Spirit," stands to ^ilaKTolq 
di'dpojTrivrjg co^mc Xuyoig, " the words taught by human 

(1) First Sermon on Jude, sect. 5. 


wisdom." By the latter, the apostle obviously intends, 
not the single expressions, but the whole manner of 
wording their discourses, on which the Greek rheto- 
ricians so much prided themselves. In the schools 
that were instituted on purpose to teach the art of 
eloquence, special rules were laid down; artificial 
figures and forms of speech were introduced; and 
every thing was inculcated that could invest human 
speech with the irresistible power of persuasion. The 
apostles had not been in any such schools : nor did 
they imitate the style which was there taught. They 
enjoyed the benefit of a higher tuition : and as what 
they delivered did not depend for its efiiciency on the 
embellishments of human diction, but on the power of 
God, they never attempted to recommend it by the 
persuasive arts of oratory, but employed that sober and 
simple style which alone comported with the spiritual 
doctrines they were commissioned to teach. In de- 
livering these doctrines, they were under the constant 
guidance of the Great Instructor, and clothed them in 
that garb, which he directed them to use. That this 
is the only construction we are warranted to put upon 
the passage, the actual circumstances of the Corinthian 
Church at the time, and the whole of the preceding 
context, abundantly shew. In fact, the words are 
little else than a repetition of the statement made in 
the fourth verse, as must be evident on their being 
placed together in juxta-position; 

ver. 4. ovK ev neiOoT^ [uvOpaiirivrji^ ao(pim koyott, 

u\X' ev uTTOdeifet Trveiz/iaToy Kai dwd/jietDf. 

ver. 13. OVK ev didaKToh ut/OpoJirivm <^o<pias \670iy, 
aW ev didaKToX^ Tri/euyuaror [d7«ou.] 

Now, as the subject of the preceding statement is not 


words simply ; but a particular kind of words, or rather 
the manner and style of expression, viz. that splendid 
and imposing eloquence, which the Greeks so highly 
extolled ; it follows, that it is not single terms to which 
the apostle refers in the latter, but the entire character 
of the style, which the first teachers of the gospel 
were taught to use in announcing its all-important 

Besides, Paul himself furnishes us with the key to 
his meaning, when he adds : irvevnaTLKolQ TtvevfiaTLKo. 
avyKpivovTsg, " Comparing spiritual things with spiri- 
tual." We are here expressly informed, that so far 
were the apostles from having every word immediately 
supplied to them without the intervention of means, 
that the teaching of the Spirit consisted in exciting 
them under his infallible guidance to exercise their 
own j udgment upon the TrvEVfxaTiKci, spiritual subjects 
which he revealed to them ; and by comparing these 
with TrvevfrnTiKolc, similar subjects revealed by inspired 
prophets under the Old Testament, to employ, so far as it 
went, identical phraseology. By this means, a beautiful 
harmony or agreement in style was effected between 
the two departments of Divine Revelation. From this 
passage, therefore, no support can be derived to the 
hypothesis of verbal inspiration. 

It has frequently been asserted that the doctrine is 
clearly involved in the terms of the promise, made by 
our Lord to his apostles in anticipation of their being 
called to defend his cause before earthly tribunals. 
The words as given by Matthew, ch. x. 19, 20, are 
these : " But when they deliver you up, take no thought 
" how or what ye shall speak ; for it shall be given 


" you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it 
" is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father 
" which speaketh in you." The legitimacy of the 
application of this passage as an indirect proof of the 
general inspiration of the apostles, we have already 
admitted; but it remains to be shown how it bears 
directly on our present argument. That universal or 
direct verbal inspiration is pledged by the Saviour, as 
it respects even the extraordinary occasions to which 
he refers, is more than can be proved from the words 
in which the promise is expressed. The apostles are 
supposed to be solicitous about both the ttwc and the 
Tt — the manner and the matter of their defence : and 
they are exhorted not to give way to such solicitude : 
but it is worthy of notice, that, in the promise itself, 
no regard is had to the manner {to ttmq) in which they 
were to express themselves. It is quite general in its 
terminology. " It shall be given you in that same hour 
what (rt) ye shall speak." " The Holy Ghost shall 
teach you in the same hour 7vhat things ye ought to 
say," — a hel eiTreiy. (Luke xii. 12.) It is the subject- 
matter of apology that was to be supplied to them; 
and they might be well-assured, that if this, which 
was the more important, was secured by divine inter- 
vention, the mere expression would not be wanting. 
To remove, however, all ground of hesitation from their 
minds, our Lord adds : " For it is not ye that speak ; 
but the Spirit of your Father, which speaketh in you." 
By his teaching and superintending influence, they 
would always be enabled to express themselves in a 
manner worthy of the divine cause, which they were 
called to defend : — a manner, to which they could never 


have attained by the exercise of their own unassisted 
powers ; so that, though these powers were not to be 
superseded but engaged, it was to be as the organs of 
the divine agency by which they were employed. 

"Were w^e to grant, however, that universal verbal 
inspiration was, on such occasions, vouchsafed to the 
apostles, still we could not justly infer that they were 
the subjects of the same kind of inspiration, when com- 
posing their wa-itings. The cases were altogether 
different. In the former, they were called upon to 
speak extempore, and were liable to be perpetually 
interrupted by the interrogatories of their judges, or 
the captious insinuations of their accusers : in the 
latter, they had leisure to exercise thought, choose 
expressions, and arrange their ideas, according to the 
nature of the subjects, or the peculiar claims of existing 
circumstances, which might be brought under their 
notice. It is easily to be imagined, therefore, that 
though, as to all practical purposes, they were under 
the influence of divine inspiration in both, it was 
nevertheless modified, or adapted in its exercise accord- 
ing to the necessities of their condition. 

The statement made by Luke, that, on the day of 
Pentecost, the apostles " were all filled with the Holy 
Ghost, and began to speak Avith other tongues, as the 
Spirit gave them utterance," has also been advanced 
in proof of the same view of the subject. That, on 
this occasion, verbal inspiration, in the strictest accep- 
tation of the term, took place, cannot, for a moment, 
be doubted by those who allow, that the languages in 
question were tongues with which the speakers had 
before been totally unacquainted. The immediate 

A A 


supply of words was, in this case, absolutely necessary; 
and the same direct communication must have taken 
place in all similar instances during the apostolic age. 
But surely a moment's reflection must convince every 
impartial person of the perfect irrelevancy of such a 
proof to the point under discussion. If the writers of 
Scripture had composed in languages to which they 
had been entire strangers, then indeed we should be 
compelled to infer, that the infusion of every term was 
granted to them ; but nothing can be more absurd than 
to argue from a case of absolute necessity to one in 
which only to a certain extent, any necessity can be 
supposed to have obtained. With respect to the 
authors of the books contained in the canon of the 
Old Testament, every one knows, that they wrote in 
their native language, or in a dialect with which they 
were equally familiar ; and as it regards the Ncav 
Testament writers, there cannot be a doubt on the 
subject of their previous acquaintance, in a greater or 
less degree, with the language in which they penned 
their books. Considerable diversity of opinion has 
existed respecting the original language of the gospel 
of Matthew: some maintaining that it was Hebrew, 
or the Aramaic dialect, spoken in Palestine in the 
time of our Lord ; and others, that it was Greek. ^ If 
the former, then the evangelist belongs to the same 
class with the writers of the Old Testament; if the 
latter, which seems the more probable, he will occupy 
much the same place with Peter, James, and Jude, in 

(1) For an account of the different authors who have written on this liti- 
gated question, see Home's Introduction, vol. iv. p. 262, and Schott's Isagoge 
Histor. Grit. p. 70. • 


point of his knowledge of Greek. The fact is now- 
well established, that this language was, in their time, 
extensively understood in Palestine ; and there is every 
reason to presume, that the apostles, being natives of 
Galilee, where a more than ordinary intercourse with 
foreigners prevailed, were more or less acquainted 
with it. Indeed their writings furnish satisfactory 
proof that their knowledge of this tongue was chiefly 
derived from common usage, the constructions of words 
and phrases being such as obtained in ordinary conver- 
sation.^ This being the case, it follows that all attempts 
to prove from the fact of the gift of tongues, the imme- 
diate communication of every word of Scripture to the 
sacred writers, must ever prove completely nugatory. 
They were already in possession of a considerable 
proportion of the terms, and consequently did not 
require their infusion. 

No small degree of confidence has been placed on 
the evidence supposed to be yielded in support of this 
view of the subject, by the numerous passages, in 
which the terms — the wordy or the words of the Lord ; 
the Lord spake — thus saith the Lord, &c. occur. 
But against this argument lies the same objection, 
which we have urged in refutation of that which has 
just occupied our attention. It is the extension of 
what belongs to a particular to the exigencies of a 
universal proposition. It is fully conceded, that, in 
a vast majority of the instances in which these formulas 
occur, they are to be regarded as descriptive of imme- 
diate verbal communications. The single terms and 

(1) Plank on the Greek Diction of tlie N. T. ; Biblical Cabinet, vol. ii, p. 112. 


all tlieir collocations were the simple result of a mira- 
culous exertion of divine power. 

But, on the other hand, it is equally manifest, that 
there are numerous passages of the Old and New Tes- 
taments, in which the phrase, the word, or the words 
of the Lord, is not to be understood in this restricted 
acceptation. The Hebrew "la^, and the Greek Xoyoc, 
are used with great latitude by the sacred writers. 
Besides denoting verhum, a single term or expression, 
or dictum, an assertion or declaration, they are fre- 
quently taken in the sense of sermo, " discourse," and 
•of res, "thing," " matter," or, that which is the subject 
of discourse. How often does David speak of the word 
.of God, when he means the entire divine testimony, 
or the promises, threatenings, directions, &c., which it 
contains, without respect to any particular mode of its 
composition or delivery. (Ps. cxix.) The Apostle 
James, referring to the prediction contained in the 
book of the minor prophets, respecting the re-establish- 
meut of religion in the days of the Messiah, speaks of 
it, as consisting in o\ Xuyot rwv 7rpo(J)r)Twr — " the words 
of the prophets," (Actsxv. 15,) which he then proceeds 
to quote, yet not in the identical terms which are there 
employed. In the New Testament, the phrases, " the 
word of God," and " the word of the Lord," are fre- 
quently employed to designate the doctrine preached 
by the apostles, without any other idea being attached 
to it, than that of the message which they were com- 
missioned, and, by divine inspiration, enabled infallibly 
to deliver. See Acts vi. 2 ; viii. 14 ; xi. 1 ; xiii. 7, 26, 
44, 48, 49 ; 1 Cor. xii. 36 ; 1 Thess. ii. 13 ; 2 Tim. ii.9; 
and numerous other passages. 


It may be said, that divine doctrine delivered either 
orally or in writing being presented through the me- 
dium of speech or discourse, the individual terms in 
which it is delivered must necessarily have been in- 
spired, inasmuch as all speech is composed of single 
words. If the speech be inspired, the words must be 
inspired of course. But this conclusion can only be 
drawn from the premises advanced by those who hold, 
that, in all cases, the words were immediately commu- 
nicated. It is founded on a signification being univer- 
sally attached to the term inspiration, which can only 
be allowed to it in a limited number of instances. 
Remove this restricted acceptation, and invest the word 
with the whole extent of meaning which the pheno- 
mena of Scripture require, and there will be no 
absurdity in maintaining, that a discourse may be 
inspired, though the single terms of that discourse may 
not have been directly imparted to the writer. Ac- 
cording to the doctrine laid down in a former Lecture, 
the penmen of Scripture wrote under a Divine influence 
so exerted as to secure the proper deposition of those 
matters, which were to be transmitted in writing for 
the benefit of mankind ; and, till it can be shown that 
this could not be effected without the immediate com- 
munication of every single word to their minds, the 
assertions advanced respecting the component parts of 
speech must be regarded as quite aside from the point. 
The same remarks will more or less apply to those 
passages in which God is said " to put his word into 
the mouth" of his messengers ; to be "a mouth and 
vdsdom " to them ; to be " with their mouth," to " touch 
their mouth," and the like. (Exod. iv. 10 — 12 ; Jer. i.9.) 


The phraseology is descriptive of that divine assistance, 
which they enjoyed, in virtue of which they were 
qualified to give utterance to " the things of the Spirit;" 
and from the circumstances of some of the cases, it may 
be admitted, that with respect to them, direct verbal 
inspiration is implied ; but in others, there is clearly 
a recognition of boldness of delivery, or a readine^^s of 
speech generally, rather than the special infusion or 
absolute dictation of single words. 

On the whole, it will be found, that the appeals, 
which have been made to Scripture in defence of the 
theory we are opposing, are the result either of a con- 
tracted notion of the general subject, or of misappre- 
hension with respect to the force and bearing of those 
passages in the inspired records, which have been 
pressed into its service. A thorough-going and con- 
sistent comparison of " spiritual things with spiritual" 
will evince, that it derives no legitimate support from 
this quarter. 

Our second objection to the universality of direct 
verbal inspiration is : — that it was unnecessary. In 
examining the dogma of the immediate revelation of 
all that the sacred penmen wrote, we tested it by the 
axiom, that miraculous influence is never resorted to 
except where natural causes prove insufficient. To 
the same process we would also subject the present 
question respecting the absolute organic revelation of 

If the apostles had been totally unacquainted with 
the Greek language, universal verbal inspiration would 
have been indispensably requisite. They must, in that 


case, have had the ipsisslma verba immediately revealed 
to them. To the extent in which they wanted appro- 
priate terms and phrases in which properly to express 
the conceptions of their minds, the supply must have 
been made in this way. But to hold, that all their 
previous knowledge of the language was superseded ; 
that no room was left for the exercise of memory and 
judgment; and, that the identical terms and combina- 
tions of speech, which the exercise of their mental 
faculties must otherwise have spontaneously produced, 
were immediately derived from a supernatural source, 
is not only to suppose a fact to which, so far as we 
know, there is nothing analogous in the government of 
God, but is so diametrically opposed to the established 
methods of the Divine procedure, that an explicit 
revelation would be absolutely necessary to convince 
us of its existence. 

The true state of the case appears to be this. When 
excited by the Holy Spirit to compose any original 
writing, the penman had the ideas produced in his 
mind. If these ideas represented objects with which 
he was previously familiar, he naturally clothed them 
in the words by which he had been accustomed to 
express them. Thus Moses, when designating the 
Nile, employed the term is;, Yeor, corresponding to 
the Egyptian word l^po, or l6pO, and not the proper 
Hebrew "in:, which is commonly used to denote larger 
rivers ; just as he naturally called the Euphrates kut 
i^oxn^'j "Vl^, the River, and the Mediterranean f\^ir\ D;n, 
the Great Sea, or pn^rr D;n, the hinder sea. Thus also 
Paul spontaneously gave to the Jewish feast of weeks 
the name of lie v^£*co<r^^/, Pentecost, (1 Cor. xvi. 7 ;) to 


Luke, tlie professional title of 'larpdg, Physician, 
(Col. iv. 14 ;) and the designation (peXovrjg to the tra- 
velling hag, which he had left at Troas, (2 Tim. iv. 13.) 
Nor is the principle to be confined to single terms: 
it may be extended to phrases and more elaborate forms 
of expression, such as ; iw-nsi iW1^, lie lifted up his 
eyes, (Gren xxii. 4 ;) nn^p nis'in, the abomination of the 
Egyptians, (Exod. viii. 22 ;) bwu? nin '^r\vt, 'ri:% And it 
came to j)ass after the death of Saul, (2 Sam. i. 1 ;) 
Ov yap ETraLffx^POfiaL to ehayyiXiov, I am not ashamed 
of the gospel, (Rom. i. 16,) ^v^apiCTTu rw 0fw, iravTiav 
vfiuiy fidWou yXioaaaig \a\ujv' I thank God, I speak 
more in foreign languages than all of you, (1 Cor. xiv. 
18.) In these and innumerable parallel instances, the 
moment the things became matters of consciousness 
on the part of the writers, the verbal signs which cor- 
responded to them would necessarily be called forth by 
the natural law of association. 

The same holds good in regard to much that was 
the subject of revelation through the medium of visions 
or dreams. In what has been not inappropriately 
termed symbolical inspiration ^ scenes were depicted to 
the imagination, comprehending a vast multitude of 
objects otherwise of familiar occurrence, with respect 
to the natural characteristics of which no hesitancy 
whatever could exist in the mind. No person of sound 
intellect, on being furnished with such a pictorial 
representation, could be at a loss to discriminate the 
difierent objects, and without any extrinsic or superior 
aid, clearly and definitively to appropriate to them 

(1) Notes to Hartley on Man, by Pistorius, vol. iii. p. 571. ed. Lond. 1791. 


their respective names. Take an example from the 
prophecies of Zechariah. " I saw," he declares, " by 
" night, and behold ! a man riding upon a red horse, 
" and he stood among the myrtle-trees, that were in 
" the shade, and behind him were red horses, speckled 
" and white." (Ch. i. 8.) Take another from the Apo- 
calypse : " I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw 
" a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads 
" and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns. And 
" the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and 
" his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as 
" the mouth of a lion." (Ch. xiii. 1, 2.) Is it for a 
moment imaginable that any additional supernatural 
process was necessary in order to supply either of these 
prophets with the names of the different symbols com- 
posing the hieroglyphic groups, which they have 
described? Were they not of themselves competent 
to allot to each its distinctive character, just as they 
would have done, had they furnished us with a descrip- 
tion of any real scene in which these objects were 
exhibited apart from inspiration ? 

What, then, we contend for is, that, to the extent in 
which the ideas or symbols were clearly perceived by 
the sacred writers, and they were sufficiently acquainted 
with the language in which they wrote to be able to 
reduce them to verbal forms, they did not require the 
immediate communication of these forms, but naturally 
connecting the one with the other, or rather the one 
being insensibly produced by the other, they gave them 
expression, under the superintendence of the inspiring 
Spirit. Where their memory did not readily suggest 
the corresponding words, they doubtless experienced 


the exertion of a Divine energy ; and on no occasion, 
and in regard to no subject, were they left to express 
themselves in a way that would prove injurious to the 
matters which they were commissioned to make known 
to the world. 

With respect to communications of a more peculiar 
character, to which there was nothing analogous in the 
range of their previous ideas, and which, by necessary 
consequence, they could not have appropriately ex- 
pressed in words, direct verbal inspiration became 
indispensably requisite. To this head we refer all 
instances in which the prophets and apostles were 
employed to commit to writing what they did not 
clearly comprehend ; instances in which the subjects 
were perfectly new to them ; and instances in which 
they entirely surpassed the grasp of human intellect. 
Without the immediate supply of apposite terms, it 
was altogether impossible for them, in such cases, to 
express themselves with accuracy : for, by no process 
of mental abstraction, by no inductive reasoning, by no 
elevation of thought, could they ever have brought the 
topics in question within the determining influence of 
any previous habits of intellection ; nor, on the suppo- 
sition, that this had been in their power, were they 
possessed of external signs at all adapted for their 
revelation to others. 

Some of those, who advocate universal verbal inspi- 
ration in the strict acceptation of the term, are in the 
habit of appealing in defence of their theory to what 
they consider to be an established fact in the philosophy 
of the human mind — the impossibihty of thinking 
except in words. We have only, it has been said, to 


attend to the operations of our own minds in order to 
be conscious, that, whenever we prosecute any train 
of ideas, the operation is effected through the medium 
of language, and that where this is not the case, our 
ideas are indistinct and confused. That this is, to a 
certain extent, true, may be granted. In processes of 
abstract reasoning, where the utmost nicety of compa- 
rison and discrimination is necessary in classing and 
methodizing ideas, language becomes a powerful instru- 
ment of thought. The philosopher has recourse to its 
symbols as so many steps by which to proceed, or to 
retrace the ground over which he has gone ; and were 
he to lay aside the use of these symbols, his ideas would 
become more or less indistinct and obscure. But to what 
is this to be ascribed ? To any thing physiologically 
inherent in the constitution of the human mind ? or to 
artificial habits, that have been created by accidental 
circumstances, or that are the result of tuition and 
imitation ? To attribute it to the former would be to 
confound cause and effect. Words, so far from being 
subjectively the original sources of ideas, are strictly 
and properly the mere organs of their expression to 
others. They were not primarily designed to facilitate 
our mental processes, but to be the vehicles by which 
ideas might be transmitted from one mind to another. 
That they have been rendered subservient to these 
processes is not denied; but that they are indispen- 
sably necessary to thought cannot be admitted, while 
daily experience evinces its rapidity to be such, that fre- 
quently it is incapable of becoming embodied in words. 
The current is too rapid to be arrested by the sensible 
signs by which it might otherwise be expressed. 


But it may reasonably be asked ; What real connec- 
tion is there betwixt this alleged phenomenon in the 
history of the human mind, and the subject of inspira- 
tion ? Divine revelation forms a perfect contrast to 
the laboured productions of human reason. So far as 
the mental operations of the inspired writers were 
concerned, they appear to have been of the simplest 
character. Unlike the metaphysician, or the specu- 
lative philosopher, the prophets and apostles were 
strangers to abstraction. With them all was instinct 
with feeling. They wrote, as they spoke, because they 
believed. Even Paul, in his closest reasonings, is 
pouring forth the spontaneous effusions of a mind 
excited, enlightened, and strengthened from above. 
To the extent of their knowledge of the languages in 
which they wrote, the ideas which they conceived 
would readily suggest the appropriate terms ; where 
that knowledge was defective, the terms would be 
suggested by supernatural influence ; and in matters 
of direct revelation, of which they could form no 
adequate conception, such as those relating to the 
Divine Essence, the mutual relations of the sacred 
Three, the counsels of God, the realities of the invisible 
world, the words immediately supplied must have been 
invested with much of the same obscurity to them in 
which they present themselves to us — an obscurity 
arising, not from the terms themselves, but from the 
great subjects to which they refer, and the compara- 
tively small degree of light that is imparted concerning 
them in Scripture. 

In the third place, the dogma of the absolute dicta- 


tion of every word to the sacred writers is invalidated 
hy the fact of the existence of various readings in the 
original Scriptures. That such readings do exist, and 
that to a vast amount, is matter of ocular demonstration. 
When first made public, considerable offence was taken 
by those who had been unaccustomed to the study of 
Biblical criticism, and much hostility was shown against 
those who were implicated in their publication. Among 
other reasons assigned for rejecting them were their 
supposed incompatibility with the inspiration of the 
original texts, and the dangerous consequences which 
must result to the authority of the Bible, if their 
existence were granted. It is truly humbling to find 
such an eminent divine as Dr. Owen stating, that " it 
" is true we have not the auVdypa^a of Moses and the 
" prophets, of the apostles and evangelists ; but the 
" diroypacpa which we have, or copies, contain every 
" iota that was in them."^ Of the fact of the existence 
of the various readings he was not ignorant. He 
admits it ; but, in order to elude the force of the argu- 
ment, which might be deduced from it against his 
views of the purity and integrity of the text, he main- 
tains in regard to the Keris and Chethibs of the 
Hebrew Bible, that they were found in it in the time 
of our Lord, consequently received his sanction, and 
contain between them the genuine readings ; and with 
respect to the Greek New Testament, that it likewise 
is preserved entire in the different manuscripts, how 
greatly soever they may vary from each other. "In 
them all," he says, " is every letter and tittle of the 

(1) Works, vol. iv. p. 393. 


word." Since his time the labours of Kennicott, De 
Rossi, Mill, Wetstein, Griesbach, Matth^ei, and Scholz, 
have greatly augmented the mass of various readings ; 
and the light that has been thrown on the history of 
the text by these, and other writers who have availed 
themselves of the published results of their researches, 
or instituted separate examinations of particular pas- 
sages, evinces the extreme folly of contending for a 
literal identity between any copies now extant, and the 
originals as published by the sacred penmen. Nor 
could any such identity have been preserved through 
the course of transcription without the intervention of 
a perpetual miracle ; it being impossible, in the exer- 
cise of the greatest care, and by the application of 
every human means of conservation, absolutely to 
secure the text from the irruption of errors and mis- 
takes. At the same time, it is equally beyond dispute, 
that, in exact proportion to the increase of discovered 
manuscripts, by which the aggregate of readings has 
been successively swelled, has been the amount of cor- 
roborative evidence which they have supplied of its 
doctrinal integrity and purity. The identical books, 
and the essential text, which composed the original 
canon, are exhibited in one and all of them. The most 
imperfect copy contains every article of faith, every 
ethical precept, and every source of consolation, to be 
found in the most correct. By far the greatest part of 
the variations are of no moment whatever, consisting 
merely in the omission or addition of a letter, the 
transposition of a word, the substitution of a synonyme, 
and such like, by which not the slightest change is 
produced in the meaning of the record ; while such as 


wear a more serious aspect are so controlled by con- 
comitant circumstances, that no substantial detriment 
can possibly accrue from them. 

It appears from ancient testimonies that varieties of 
readings existed at a very early period. Origen, who 
flourished within a hundred years of the time of the 
apostles, not only admits the fact, but is loud in his 
complaints in reference to it ; and the allegations which 
he makes are fully borne out by the quotations which 
occur both in his own writings, and in those of the 
fathers who were contemporary with him, or who lived 
between his time, and that in which the books of the 
New Testament were written. They are also corro- 
borated by the ancient Syriac and Latin versions, 
which belong to the same period. Nor is it at all 
improbable, that varice lectiones existed in the very 
first copies that were transcribed from the inspired 
idiographs, or from the autographs which were dictated 
to amanuenses, and accredited by the apostolic signa- 
ture. It may by some be deemed presumptuous to 
hazard such a supposition ; but Dr. Owen himself, 
though he lays considerable stress on the first copies 
having been given out to faithful men, whilst the infal- 
lible Spirit continued his guidance in an extraordinary 
manner, nevertheless allows, that none of the first 
transcribers of the original copies were dvafxdpTr}Toi, 
and QevTzvevcTTOL^ infallible and divinely-inspired, so that 
it was impossible for them in any thing to mistake. 
Religious care and diligence in their work, with a due 
reverence of Him, with whom they had to do, is all he 
ascribes to them.^ 

(1) Works, vol. iv. p. 458. 


Now the question wliicli is naturally suggested by 
these considerations, in application to the subject of 
inspiration, is this : Is it at all supposable, that the 
writers of Scripture should have every word and 
syllable immediately dictated to them, in order to con- 
stitute their books or letters a perfect standard of 
doctrine and practice in all ages, since the result of 
such inspiration could not be transferred, except by 
inspired transcription, from the divine archetypes? 
That the Bible was intended to be such a standard is 
avowed by all who strictly admit the supernatural 
claims of revelation ; and on all points with respect to 
which there may arise a difference of opinion, an 
appeal is made to it, as containing the inspired decisions 
of the supreme and infallible Arbiter of truth. But if 
the perfection of this ultimate rule of judgment consist 
in words absolutely and immediately dictated by the 
Spirit of truth to the original writers, it is obvious we 
possess no such rule ; for these words, as thus dictated, 
cannot now be in every case ascertained. They may 
all exist in the multitudinous mass of Hebrew and 
Greek manuscripts to be found in different parts of 
the world ; but where is the collator, who will bring 
them together ? or where is the critic, who will arrange 
them precisely as they originally stood? Much has 
been effected, especially of late years, in the way of 
collecting various readings, and restoring the text to 
its pristine state of verbal integrity ; but many prin- 
ciples still remain to be settled, and much more critical 
and hermeneutical skill than has yet been brought into 
operation must be applied, before any thing nearly 
approaching to a literal identity can be expected ; and, 


as to a perfect identity in this respect, supposing it 
ever to be produced, no person would be qualified, 
without a special revelation, definitively to assert its 

We are reduced, therefore, to this dilemma : either 
the Bible is a suflicient and authoritative rule of faith, 
though not verbally existing in the condition in which 
it was published by the writers : or, we have not, and 
never can expect to possess, any such rule. The latter 
alternative no one will admit, who takes a fair and 
enlightened view of the subject. Without being de- 
pendent on the judgment of the church of Rome, in 
what shape soever she may pretend to express that 
judgment, or upon the ultimate decisions of Biblical 
critics, every person who will consult the Scriptures 
in their connection, comparing one passage, phrase, 
and term with another; calling in to his aid those 
subsidiary means, which the present times abundantly 
supply ; and humbly imploring the promised illumina- 
tion of the Holy Spirit; may confidently expect to 
attain to that certainty, which is essential to his satis- 
factory determination of all points connected with truth 
and duty. Though he may not be able to ascertain in 
every case the particular words, which actually pro- 
ceeded from the Spirit, he will not be left at a loss 
with respect to the " mind of the Spirit :" — there being 
attendant circumstances which frequently point out 
that mind as distinctly as if it had been expressed in 
a precise number of terms, or in one term rather than 

But, if the books of the Old and New Testaments as 
existing in the textus recq:>tus, or as they have existed 

B B 


in different manuscripts, from the time the first copies 
were taken, are sufficient to answer all the purposes 
for which revelation was given, and there is no reason 
to believe that they will ever be restored to their 
original state of absolute purity — is there not the 
strongest possible presumption against the position, 
that, in order to their production at first, a kind or 
degree of supernatural influence was exerted, by which 
every word was immediately communicated to the 
writers ? For what conceivable purpose were all the 
words thus miraculously imparted, if, with respect to 
many of them, they were so soon to undergo those 
changes, to which we have seen they were subjected, 
almost under the eye of the apostles ? Was it merely 
that the first churches might enjoy the exclusive pre- 
rogative of having an inspired book in their possession? 
To be consistent, those who adopt the theory of univer- 
sal verbal inspiration must deny that we now possess 
the inspired volume. By way of courtesy, they may 
speak of the Bible in this or similar language ; but 
what, according to their view, they mean, is the book 
of God, not as it now exists, but as it was given forth 
by God. In order to carry a speculative point, they 
must sacrifice the practical authority of the doctrine. 

That the inspired authority of a document does not 
depend on its verbal accuracy, but on the matters 
which it contains having been committed to writing 
by the special will and sanction of God, may be argued 
from the fact, that the Hebrew Scriptures to which our 
Lord and his apostles ascribe inspiration, were not the 
original manuscripts, but merely copies of them, which 
bad been taken by uninspired scribes. Their appeal 


was not to the manuscripts laid up in the temple, with 
respect even to which it is matter of doubt, whether 
any of them were the sacred autographa, but to those 
which were in current use among the Jews in Palestine, 
and the different countries of the dispersion. Now, 
there is no reason whatever for supposing, that these 
copies were exempt from many of the imperfections, 
which more or less characterise later transcripts. Not- 
withstanding the scrupulosity which the Rabbins have 
discovered in their treatment of the letters of the law, 
and their assertion, that, upon each tittle of it whole 
mountains of doctrine are suspended, these letters have 
undergone numerous changes and transpositions ; and 
though it cannot be proved, that they wilfully corrupted 
the text, either before or after the time of our Lord, it 
is past all dispute, that it was by no means possessed 
of literal perfection at that period. Yet to these very 
manuscripts he gives the sacred title of "the Scrip- 
tures," " the Scripture," and " the word of God ;" and 
it is of them (if indeed it is not of the LXX.) and not 
of the divine autographs, the apostle affirms, that they 
were deoTrrevcrTOQ, divinely inspired, and which he de- 
signates as rd lepd ypajxixaTa^ " the Holy Scriptures,'^ 
which are able to make us wise unto salvation, through 
faith which is in Christ Jesus. (2 Tim. iii. lo, 16.) If 
this fact had been adverted to, the world would have 
been spared much of the extravagant argumentation, 
which has been founded upon these texts, and the doc- 
trine of inspiration would never have been obscured 
by the mists, in which it has been enveloped. 

A fourth argument against the notion of an entirely 


literal inspiration of the sacred Scriptures, is its ten- 
dency to sink the autliority of faithful translations, hy 
depriving them of all claim to that qualify. That the 
authors of such translations were or may be inspired, 
will not be pretended in the present day. The story 
of the inspiration of the LXX interpreters, who are 
said to have produced, in their separate cells at Alex- 
andria, without communicating with each other, as 
many Greek versions of the law, possessing a perfect 
literal identity, however iSrmly it was believed by Philo 
and the Christian Fathers, and, by the latter, for obvious 
reasons, extended to the whole of the Old Testament, 
has justly been treated as a fable since the time of 
Humphry Hody, whose complete and luminous history 
of the Septuagint, in his celebrated work de Textibus 
Originalibus, has left little to be added on the subject. 
The exclusive claims of the Latin Vulgate also, though 
advocated by certain of the members of the Council of 
Trent, on the alleged ground that it was dictated by 
the same Holy Spirit who dictated the sacred originals, 
and finally pronounced by the " sacred, holy, oecume- 
nical, and general council," to be the only authentic 
standard of truth, are now equally repudiated by every 
enlightened and candid Eoman Catholic. But still, 
since all versions of the Scriptures, which faithfully 
represent the contents of the divine originals, express 
" the mind of the Spirit," it is obvious they must be 
regarded as possessing that inspiration which demands 
for the truths they reveal a cordial and unhesitating 
reception. They do not indeed contain the words, 
syllables, and letters which originally constituted the 
book of inspiration, nor an identical number of words, 


syllables, and letters corresponding to tliem ; but they 
contain the same truths, breathe the same spirit, and 
exhibit the same general structure or cast of language, 
the same conformation of sentences, the same choice of 
•epithets, the same selection and combination of images, 
the same order and dependence of ideas, and the same 
stamp of divine authority, as a communication of the 
will of God to mankind. They are not the primary 
fountain, but they are reservoirs, close by its side, into 
which its fresh and limpid waters have been conveyed. 
In asserting that every faithful translation possesses, 
as a Divine Revelation, the same authority that attaches 
to the original Scriptures, the statement is of course to 
be understood in a practical point of view. Specula- 
tively, or rather critically considered, there must ever, 
as it regards authority, be a degree of difference be- 
tween them; just as there must ever be between the 
most correct copy of the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures, 
which can now be obtained, and the immaculate auto- 
graphs of these Scriptures ; but for every practical and 
saving purpose the authority is strictly tantamount. 
Take, for example, our common English version, the 
general fidelity and truth of which have always com- 
manded the assent of the most competent judges. 
"What revealed truth, or what essential aspect of re- 
vealed truth, does it not teach? Is it not the same 
Eternal, Omnipotent, Omniscient, Benevolent, Holy, 
Righteous, and All-Perfect God, whose character is 
there displayed, whose will is there disclosed, and 
whose rule is there established? Are not the same 
features of human character and condition there por- 
trayed? Does it not disclose the same blessed 


Redeemer ; the same glorious plan and means of salva- 
tion ; the same privileges of believers ; the same moral 
precepts ; the same positive laws ; the same states of 
future and eternal retribution ? What motive is urged 
in the one, that is not urged in the other? What 
promise, encouragement, threatening, warning, invita- 
tion or expostulation is contained in the one, which is 
not equally contained in the other ? In point of prac- 
tical authority, therefore, such versions are perfectly 
upon a par with the originals. And then as to prac- 
tical effect: who, that is conversant with the subject, 
will deny, that fear of God, trust in his mercy, faith 
in the Mediator, dependence on the Holy Spirit, de- 
votedness of heart, and holiness of life, have been 
produced by the Divine blessing on the simple perusal 
of the English Scriptures, equally as in those cases in 
which the Hebrew or Greek texts have been the instru- 
mentality employed? Rather, we may say: how 
limited are the effects resulting to scholars, compared 
with those which result to the unlearned! Where 
there is one Junius, whose mind has been savingly 
affected by the reading of the original, there are 
thousands and hundreds of thousands to whom the 
Divine word, contained in their vernacular versions, 
has proved the power of God unto salvation. 

Contemplating the subject, then, in this light, in 
which alone it must be viewed, in connection with the 
grand design of Revelation, are we not fully authorized 
to advance a claim to inspiration in favour of the ver- 
sions in question ? Do they not contain a transfusion 
of the original inspiration, in so far as the truths which 
they exhibit are concerned ? And is it not this trans- 


fusion, as identified with these truths, that stamps the 
versions with an authority, which never can attach to 
any work of merely human origin or composition? 
Possessing this authority, we scruple not to assign to 
them the paramount and sacred designations: "The 
oracles of God ;" " the Words of Eternal Life." 

That we are warranted to speak in this style of the 
contents of Scripture as existing in translations, is 
convincingly evident from the language employed by 
the inspired writers of the New Testament respecting 
many of the quotations, which they make from the Old. 
To whatever lengths the controversy may formerly 
have been carried, it is now universally acknowledged, 
that, in a very considerable number of instances, the 
quotations found in that portion of the sacred volume 
were not made from the original Hebrew, but from the 
Greek version of the LXX. which was then generally 
known and read among the Hellenistic Jews. Many 
indeed of these citations are only partially in the words 
which the text of this version exhibits : while others 
are taken from it verbatim, in instances in which it 
differs from the Hebrew text: yet not the slightest 
distinction exists between the formulas by which they 
are introduced, and those prefixed to such as are made 
from that text. Of the one class equally as of the 
other, it is afiirmed : " It is written :" " thus it is writ- 
ten :" " the Scripture saith :" " the Holy Ghost saith." 
Can any thing more clearly evince, that the apostles 
were taught to regard the inspiration of the Old Testa- 
ment, as consisting, not in any quality inherent in a 
definite set of words and phrases, but in the truths. 


which God of old communicated to the church, and 
which were available for Christian instruction, and 
equally binding upon the conscience, whether pre- 
sented through the medium of the original Hebrew, 
through that of the Septuagint text, or by means of a 
version differing from both, either executed previously, 
or made at the moment under the influence of inspi- 

With the fact of such quotations from the LXX. 
those who advocate universal verbal inspiration have 
been not a little perplexed ; yet they have generally 
endeavoured to escape from the dilemma on the grounds 
taken by Dr. Owen — that the New Testament writers 
only used that liberty, which the Holy Spirit gave 
them, without any prejudice to the truth, or to the 
faith of the church ; or that the passages in the LXX. 
which they appear to quote were not originally in that 
version, but have been afterwards foisted into it from 
the New Testament by Christian transcribers, with a 
view to remove the discrepancies which exist between 
them.^ The latter hypothesis, though attempted to be 
sustained by Ernesti, has been sufficiently refuted by 
Michaelis in his Introduction to the New Testament,'"^ 
and will not now be advanced by any Biblical critic. 
The former reason is virtually a concession of the 
principle for which we contend ; and only requires to 
be combined with the import of the formulas, to which 
reference has just been made, in order to give con- 
sistency to our views respecting the inspiration of 

(1) Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews, Exercit. v, 

(2) Vol. I. chap. V. sect. iv. 


In the last place, we object to the universality of 
verbal inspiration, because it is flatly contradicted hy 
the facts of the case, as presented hy the sacred text 
itself. It must have struck the most superficial reader 
of Scripture, that, in almost all the instances in which 
there is a repetition of the same discourse, though the 
meaning is identical, a greater or less degree of diver- 
sity obtains with respect to the terms in which it is 
couched. The production of a few of these instances 
will sufficiently illustrate and establish our position. 
In the two editions, which we have, of the Decalogue 
— (Exod. XX. and Deut. v.), besides one or two literal 
discrepancies, such as the omission or insertion of a 
Vau, or the change of a Jod into a Van, there is a 
totally different phraseology employed in certain parts 
of the fourth commandment. As presented in the two 
books, they stand thus : — 

Exodus XX. Deuteronomy V. 

Remember the sabbath day, to Keep the sabbath day to sanctify 

keep it holy. Six days shalt thou it ; as the Lord thy God hath corn- 
labour, and do all thy work : But the manded thee. Six days thou shalt 
seventh day is the sabbath of the labour, and do all thy work : but the 
Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not seventh day is the sabbath of the 
do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor Lord thy God : in it thou shalt not 
thy daughter, thy man-servant, nor do any work : thou, nor thy son, nor 
thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy daughter, nor thy man-servant, 
thy stranger that is within thy gates : nor thy maid servant, nor thine ox, 
for in six days the Lord made heaven nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, 
and earth, the sea and all that in them nor thy stranger that is within thy 
is, and rested the seventh day : gates : that thy man-servant and thy 
wherefore the Lord blessed the sab- maid-servant may rest as weU as 
bath day, and hallowed it. thou. And remember that thou wast 

a servant in the land of Egj-pt, and 
that the Lord thy God brought thee 
out thence through a mighty hand 
and by a stretched-out arm : there- 
fore the Lord thy God commanded 
thee to keep the sabbath day. 



A similar discrepancy occurs in the wording of the 
fifth commandment. 


HoNora thy father and thy mother ; 

that thy days may be long upon the 

land, which the Lord thy God giveth 


Honour thy father and thy mother, 
as the Lord thy God hath com- 
manded thee : that thy days may be 
prolonged, and that it may go well 
with thee, in the land which the 
Lord thy God giveth thee. 

In like manner the phraseology differs in the two 
editions of the tenth commandment. 

Neither shalt thou desire thy 
neighbour's wife, neither shalt thou 
covet thy neighbour's house, his field, 
or his man-servant, or his maid- 
servant, or his ox, or his ass, or any 
thing that is thy neighbour's. 

Thou shalt not covet thy neigh- 
bour's house, thou shalt not covet 
thy neighbour's wife, nor his man- 
servant, nor his maid-servant, nor 
his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing 
that is thy neighbour's. 

Another instance in the Old Testament, which strik- 
ingly corroborates our argument, is that contained in 
the two accounts, which we find of the message of 
Jehovah to David by the prophet Nathan. They are 
as follows : — 

2 Samuel VII. 4—17. 

And it came to pass that night, 
that the word of the Lord came unto 
Nathan, saying. Go and tell my ser- 
vant David, Thus saith. the Lord, 
Shalt thou build me an house for me 
to 'dwell in ? Whereas I have not 
dwelt in [ayiy house since the time 
that I brought up the children of 
Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, 
but have walked in a tent and in a 
tabernacle. In all the places wherein 
I have walked with all the children 
of Israel spake 1 a word with any of 
the tribes of Israel, whom I com- 
manded to feed my people Israel, 

1 Chron. XVII. 3— 15. 

And it came to pass the same 
night, that the word of God came to 
Nathan, saj'ing, Go and tell David 
my servant, Thus saith the Lord; 
Thou shalt not build me an house to 
dwell in : for I have not dwelt in a 
house since the day that I brought 
up Israel unto this day ; but have 
gone from tent to tent, and from one 
tabernacle to another. Wheresoever 
I have walked with all Israel, spake 
I a word to any of the judges of Israel, 
whom I commanded to feed my 
people, saying. Why have ye not built 
me an house of cedars ? Now there- 



saying, "Why build ye not me an 
house of cedar? Now therefore so 
shalt thou say unto my servant 
David, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, 
I took thee from the sheep-cote, from 
following the sheep, to be ruler over 
my people, over Israel : and I was 
with thee whithersoever thou went- 
est, and have cut off all thine enemies 
out of thy sight, and have made thee 
a great name, like unto the name of 
the great men that are in the earth. 
Moreover I will appoint a place for 
my people Israel, and will plant them 
that they may dwell in a place of 
their own, and move no more ; neither 
shall the children of wickedness 
afflict them any more, as before-time, 
and as since the time that I com- 
manded judges to be over my people 
Israel, and have caused thee to rest 
from all thine' enemies. Also the 
Lord telleth thee, that he will make 
thee an house. And when thy days 
be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with 
thy fathers, I will set up thy seed 
after thee, which shall proceed out 
of thy [bowels, and I will establish 
his kingdom. He shall build an 
house for my name, and I will stablish 
the throne of his kingdom for ever. 
I will be his father, and he shall be 
my son. If he commit iniquity, I 
will chasten him with the rod of men, 
and with the stripes of the children 
of men : but my mercy shaU not de- 
part away from him, as I took it from 
Saul, whom I put away before thee. 
And thine house and thy kingdom 
shall be established for ever before 
thee : thy throne shall be established 
for ever. According to all these 
words, and according to all this 
vision, so did Nathan speak unto 

fore thus shalt thou say unto my 
servant David, Thus saith the Lord 
of hosts, I took thee from the sheep- 
cote, even from following the sheep, 
that thou shouldest be ruler over my 
people Israel : and I have been with 
thee whithersoever thou hast walked, 
and have cut off all thine enemies 
from before thee, and have made thee 
a^name like the name of the great 
men that are in the earth. Also I 
will ordain a place for my people 
Israel, and will plant them, and they 
shall dwell in their place, and shall 
be moved no more ; neither shall the 
children of wickedness waste them 
any more as at the beginning, and 
since the time that I commanded 
judges to be over my people Israel. 
Moreover I will subdue all thine 
enemies. Furthermore I tell thee 
that the Lord will build thee an 
house. And it shall come to pass, 
when thy days be expired, that thou 
must go to be with thy fathers, that 
I will raise up thy seed after thee, 
which shaU be of thy sons ; and I will 
establish his kingdom. He shall 
build me an house, and I will stablish 
his throne for ever. I will be his 
father, and he shall be mj- son : and 
I will not take my mercy away from 
him as I took it from him that was 
before thee : but 1 wiU settle him in 
mine house and in my kingdom for 
ever: and his throne shall be esta- 
blished for evermore. According to 
all these words, and according to all 
this vision, so did Nathan speak unto 


To these we shall only add one instance, selected 
from many, that might be adduced from the New Tes- 
tament. In the accounts given us of the institution 
of the Lord's Supper in the three synoptic gospels, 
verbal differences occur, which, how trivial soever in 
themselves, are important in their bearing upon the 
question of verbal inspiration. They may be exhibited 
thus : — 

Matt. XXVI. 26—29. Mark XIV. 22—25. 

And as they were eating, Jesus And as they did eat, Jesus took 

took bread, and blessed it, and brake bread, and blessed, and brake it, and 
it, and gave it to the disciples, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat ; 
said. Take, eat ; this is my body. this is my body. And he took the 
And he took the cup, and gave cup ; and when he had given thanks, 
thanks, and gave it to them, saying, he gave it to them ; and they all 
Drink ye all of it : for this is my drank of it. And he said unto them, 
blood of the New Testament, which This is my blood of the New Testa- 
is shed for many for the remission of ment, which is shed for many. Verily 
sins. But I say unto you, I will not I say unto you, I will drink no more 
drink henceforth of this fruit of the of the fruit of the vine, until that 
vine, until that day when I drink it day, that I drink it new in the king- 
new with you in my Father's king- dom of God. 

Luke XXII. 19, 20. 
And he took bread, and gave 

thanks, and brake it, and gave unto 

them, saying. This is my body, which 

is given for you : this do in remem- 
brance of me. Likewise also the cup 

after supper, saying, This cup is the 

New Testament in my blood, which 

is shed for you. 

To these statements might be added that given of 
the same transaction, which Paul received by imme- 
diate revelation from the Lord, as he expressly states, 
1 Cor. xi. 23 — 25 ; but it is not necessary to do more 
than refer to it. 

Without dwelling upon the verbal discrepancies 
which these several passages present, in their relation 


to eacli other, or stopping to show how they may be 
reconciled, and that, so far from detracting from the 
credibility of the sacred history, they only tend more 
strongly to confirm it, the single point to which we wish 
to give prominence is this : that, in each case, the words 
specified in the accounts are expressly stated to be 


is thus introduced in Exodus : " And God spake all 
these words, saying." In Deuteronomy, it is prefaced 
as follows : " The Lord talked with you face to face 
in the mount out of the midst of the fire, saying;'" and 
it is added at the close: '^^ These words the Lord sjmke 
unto all your assembly — and he added no more. And 
he wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them 
unto me." In the same way the message of Nathan is 
introduced in Samuel and Chronicles by the formula : 
" Thus saith the Lordf^ and in both is added : " Ac- 
" cording to all these words, and according to all this 
" vision, so did Nathan speak unto David." And in 
all the three evangelists, the words of the institution 
of the supper are preceded by the declaration: "Jesus 
said," or by the term ^^ saying," which amounts to the 
same thing. 

Now we contend, that it is absolutely impossible to 
reconcile these phenomena on the principle of universal 
organic inspiration. If the words are to be pressed in 
such cases, as they are in reference to the subject 
generally, and we are to take either of the combined 
statements as bond fide furnishing us with the iden- 
tical words which were spoken on the several occa- 
sions, then it is demonstrably evident, that the words. 


contained in the corresponding statement, could not, 
so far as they differ from the former, have been deli- 
vered. If they are both to be considered strictly, and 
ad literam, what was communicated, there is manifestly 
a contradiction in terms, which no possible ingenuity 
can remove. It is of no use to tell us that they are 
both inspired. We admit this. But then we hold it 
on an entirely different principle — a princij^le which 
allows of the variety in the accounts of the discourses, 
without doing the least violence to any part of the 
language employed. There is throughout a substan- 
tial agreement. Each writer states the matters in his 
own way ; or the same writer varies his statement, in 
the repetition, in some immaterial circumstances, which 
affect neither their accuracy, nor his veracity as a 
narrator. In superintending or controlling their pro- 
cedure as inspired instruments, the Holy Spirit per- 
mitted them to employ different phraseology, according 
to the particular aspect in which, at the moment, the 
subject was presented to their minds. He might have 
so strengthened their memory as to qualify them infal- 
libly to repeat the same words and phrases, and that 
to any imaginable length. But he has not seen fit 
always to exert his inspiring influence in this degree. 
While he has preserved them from using any terms 
that would derogate from the truth or propriety of 
their narratives, he has condescended to avail himself 
of the variable state of their mental faculties in com- 
posing them, in such a way as must necessarily have 
produced the diversities in question. The words in 
these instances were not infused into their minds, but 
suggested by their own recollection ; and conveying 


in substance the same truths or matters of fact, they 
were deemed equally worthy of a place in the Divine 
record with those which were directly imparted. When 
they inform us that such and such words were spoken 
or delivered, they speak according to the influence of 
the peculiar view which they were then led to enter- 
tain of the subjects; and there being nothing essen- 
tially different in their accounts, we hesitate not to 
receive both as they are presented to our notice. They 
could, with the strictest propriety, adopt the language: 
" These are the words,''^ meaning thereby the matters, 
though what follows does not exhibit the identical 
words of the original communication. But if the 
whole was composed as the result of direct verbal in- 
fusion, and the formulas are to be understood in the 
restricted sense in which they are interpreted by those 
who take this exclusive view of inspiration, we must 
inevitably abandon the consistency and truth of the 
documents altogether. To maintain that the Holy 
Spirit might immediately inspire the different word- 
ings, and yet declare that they are verbally the original 
communications, is worse than trifling ; it is to turn 
the truth of God into a lie ; to expose it to the scoff of 
the infidel ; and to cast a stumbling-block in the way 
of the honest inquirer. It is lamentable to reflect on 
the obstacles which have thus been interposed between 
the word of God and the human mind by the false and 
inconsistent interpretations which have been given of 
that word by its sincere friends. Speculative notions 
are hastily adopted, or a pertinacity to defend certain 
received modes and forms of expression is unwisely 
indulged in, by means of which distorted conceptions 


of truth are formed, and representations of its character 
and claims presented to the world, which are altogether 
unsanctioned by holy Scripture, 

We here close what we have to offer on the subject 
of verbal inspiration. Our next Lecture will contain 
a determination of the question : What Boohs are in- 
spired ? — involving a variety of topics connected with 
the history of the sacred canon, and the grounds on 
which we receive as divine a certain number of writ- 
insrs to the entire exclusion of all others. 




" What hath the Lord spoken ? " 

Next in point of importance and interest to the fact 
that the sacred writers were inspired, are the questions: 
What are those books, on behalf of which the claim of 
Divine Inspiration is advanced? And what is the 
evidence on which we believe, that a certain specific 
number are exclusively entitled to this distinction? 
It is notorious, that nothing like unanimity respecting 
these points prevails. Not only have they been keenly 
agitated among theologians of different periods, but 
collections of books, differing more or less in point of 
size and number, yet all comprehended under the 
general name of "the Holy Bible," have obtained in 
several of the churches in Christendom. The Scrip- 
tures, as generally received by us, diifer from those in 
accredited circulation among the Lutherans ; the books, 
to which inspiration is ascribed by that body, are not 
numerically the same with those for which it is claimed 
by the Roman Catholics: the catalogues of sacred 
writings sanctioned in the Romish and Greek churches 
also differ from each other ; while the Armenian Bible 
c c 


contains more books than are to be found in any other. 
With respect indeed to the books which are commonly 
circulated in this empire as Divine, and which accord 
with those composing the Hebrew Bible and the Greek 
New Testament, there exists no disagreement in the 
creeds of the different churches. In all and each of 
these creeds, the claims of the whole Scripture, to the 
extent in which it is approved by us, are unhesitatingly 
admitted. But most of the foreign churches have 
appended to them, intermixed with them, or sanctioned, 
by promoting their joint circulation, other books or 
portions, which possess no claim to inspiration. On 
the other hand, the demands made on our religious 
regard by some of the books of the Old and New Tes- 
tament have been called in question both in ancient 
and modern times. 

The term canon, which may be considered as now 
possessing classical authority in reference to the present 
division of our subject, is, like many other ecclesiastical 
words, originally Greek ; but for the sake of conve- 
nience, it has been adopted into all the languages of 
modern Europe, just as it was anciently into the Latin, 
and into the Syriac, Ethiopia, Arabic, Armenian, 
Slavonic, and other languages in use in the Oriental 

In ecclesiastical usage, Kavwv was anciently employed 
to designate a book or catalogue ; a book containing 
a list of the different persons belonging to any church, 
particularly those who officiated at the public services; 
the liturgical writings used on such occasions; and 
whatever else appertained to the edifice. It was also 
taken in the sense of a publicly approved catalogue of 


all the books, which might be read in the public assem- 
blies of the Christians ; and in that of a collection of 
writings divinely inspired. Finally, in application to 
one of the great ends of such writings, according to its 
original and literal signification, it was used to denote 
such writings viewed in the light of an infallible rule 
of faith and practice. In the last acceptation the word 
is repeatedly employed by Irenseus, Tertullian, Origen, 
Clement of Alexandria, and Isidore of Pelusium : — 
a circumstance of no small moment, as furnishing us 
with an idea of the paramount importance attached by 
these fathers to the sacred Scriptures, but which appears 
to have been entirely lost sight of by many of those 
who have treated on the subject. In modern usage, 
canonical and inspired are, for the most part, con- 
vertible terms : and, indeed, with many of the ancients, 
those books alone were considered to be canonical, 
(^KavoviKCLj KavoviiioiJLiva,) which were recognised as 
divine, and to which they gave the character of ivSid- 
OrjKOt, eyhdderot, hia6r}K6ypa(jia, yvr^aia, ofioXoyovfiEva, 
writings found or entered in the Testaments, genuine, 
and universally acknowledged to be of divine authority. 
But as the word was frequently used, in the third and 
following centuries, in reference to all books that were 
read in the churches (and other writings besides those 
which were inspired had this honour conferred upon 
them), a considerable degree of vagueness came to be 
attached to it, in consequence of which no small diffi- 
culty has attended the attempts that have been made 
definitely to separate the one class from the other in 
the works of the Fathers. To the books which have 
been universally received, Roman Catholic writers give 


the name o?Proto-cano7iical; and to those which have 
hot been thus received, that of Deutero-canonical : — 
a distinction, however, which is not allowed bj Pro- 
testants, who consider those only to be entitled to a 
place in the canon, which can be proved to have been 
divinel}^ inspired. 

The canonicity of the books of Scripture has more 
or less occupied the attention of all who have applied 
themselves to the study of their history. It was treated 
on more or less fully in the ancient church by Melito, 
Origen, Eusebius, Athanasius, Jerome, Augustine, and 
others ; and since the Reformation, it has generally 
occupied one or more sections in the leading bodies of 
divinity which have appeared in the Roman Catholic 
and Protestant churches : besides having been dis- 
cussed in separate works, of which those by Cosins, 
Jones, Du Pin, Ens, Storch, Schmid, Alexander, and 
Stuart, possess distinguished merit. Since the publi- 
cation of Semler's Free Inquiry respecting some of the 
books of the Old Testament in 1771, in which he 
advanced sentiments that went completely to unsettle 
the grounds on which the question had been placed, 
and the appearance of a work on the same subject, and 
leading to the same results, by Corrodi, it has been 
much agitated in Germany; and numerous attempts 
have been made to subvert the entire canon of the 
Hebrew Scriptures, as well as to exclude as spurious 
whole books of the New Testament. A powerful 
reaction, however, was produced by the portions of 
Eichhorn's Introduction,^ in which the subject is 
handled with consummate historical ability; and ever 



since, there has been a gradual abandonment of the 
hypothetical reasonings, which had been advanced 
respecting it ; and, on the whole, an approximation to 
the views which were entertained prior to the time of 
Semler, is now visible in most of the works in which 
it comes under review. 

Owing to the absence of minute historical data, the 
history of the canon, so far as its formation and com- 
pletion are concerned, is involved in considerable 
obscurity. In this respect, little difference exists 
between that of the books which compose the Old Tes- 
tament, and that of those which form the New — there 
being no definite or positive information relative either 
to the exact period when they were collected, or the 
persons by whom the collection was made. But though 
this deficiency in point of minute and particular data 
must be admitted, it cannot be denied that we possess 
evidence of a more general character, which, in view of 
all the circumstances of the case, is highly satisfactory. 

With respect to the Canon of the Old Testament, it 
is evident its formation must have been progressive 
and protracted. Upwards of a thousand years elapsed 
between the publication of the first and the addition 
of the latest books which it contains. From the same 
premises it follows, that it must have been very unequal 
in its extent at different periods of its history. Origi- 
nally it consisted only of the Pentateuch, part of which 
relates to events which transpired before the time of 
Moses ; but most of it is occupied with matters in 
which he was personally concerned, and its internal 
economy is such as is sufficient in itself to induce the 
belief that he was the writer. Thouorh now divided 


into five parts, there is no historical evidence to prove 
tlie primitive antiquity of this division. Moses himself 
uniformly speaks of it as a whole vrhenever he adverts 
to its composition. In Deut. xxxi. 24 — 26, w^e read : 
" And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end 
" of writing the words of this law in a book, until they 
" were finished, that Moses commanded the Levites, 
" which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, 
" saying, Take this hook of the law, and put it in the 
" side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your 
" God, that it may be there for a witness against thee.'* 
Some, indeed, have maintained, that the document here 
specified contained simply the legal enactments, apart 
from all historical matter ; but the reason assigned for 
its preservation sufiiciently proves the contrary. It 
was to furnish to that and all succeeding generations 
a faithful testimony of the dealings of Jehovah with 
his church, and of the conduct of her members towards 
him from the beginning. It also appears from Exod. 
xvii. 14 ; xxiv. 4, 7 ; Num. xxxiii. 2 ; that Moses com- 
mitted to writing accounts of the Divine appearances, 
and other historical facts tending to illustrate the 
character of the ancient economy, and not merely the 
statutes of ceremonial and judicial legislation. What 
he thus successively wrote was solemnly delivered to 
the sacerdotal and civil officers of tiie nation, and 
ordered to be deposited beside the ark, and to be 
brought out and read to the whole body of the people 
every seventh year. To the Pentateuch, the names 
" The Law," and " the Book of the Law," were given, 
not because it contained nothing but the national code, 
but because that code constituted the most important 


part of it, as prescribing positive rules of conduct, and 
contained the charter of privileges to the Hebrew 
people. So far, therefore, as the Mosaic canon is con- 
cerned, there is reason to believe that it was completed 
before the death of the writer himself, and that by his 
own pen, with the exception of the concluding chapter, 
which was, in all probability, added by his assistant 
and successor. 

The first augmentation which the Divine canon 
received was made by Joshua, to whom we have just 
ascribed the probable composition of the last chapter 
of the Pentateuch. Not only did he receive an express 
charge to occupy himself incessantly with the study of 
what is emphatically called " This book of the laiv," 
(ch. i. 8 ;) but we are informed, that, after he had made 
a covenant with the people in Shechem, just before his 
death, he " wrote these words in the book of the law 
of God," (ch. xxiv. 26.) How much more he may 
have inserted, we are not told ; but, considering the 
importance that attaches to the description which his 
book contains of the tribal divisions of the land of 
Canaan, and which must have been written by himself, 
the hypothesis that it also was added, possesses a high 
degree of verisimilitude. That any other part of the 
book of Joshua had this honour conferred upon it, or 
that any of the succeeding historical books were in- 
scribed upon the same roll or rolls, is destitute of all 
evidence ; but that writings composed by inspired men 
were deposited beside the Pentateuch in the holy of 
holies is admitted on all hands. Thus it is expressly 
stated, that, when Samuel had told the people the 
manner of the kingdom, he " wrote it in a book, and 


laid it up before the Lord." (1 Sam. x. 25.) It is also 
clearly taken for granted by Isaiah, that his prophecies 
would be enrolled in a collection of sacred oracles, 
which he designates " the Book of the Lord," the con- 
sultation of which, with a view to compare the predic- 
tions with the events, would convincingly prove their 
divine origin. " Seek," he says, " out of the book of 
the Lord, and read : no one of these shall fail." (Ch. 
xxxiv. 16.) The very words, icp-brr? iuj-i-i, compared 
with the language of our Lord, epewdre rag ypatpdc, 
(John V. 39,) seem to intimate, that such a sacred 
codex had already become the subject of study. And 
Daniel informs us, (chap. ix. 2,) that he understood by 
the hooks, cnDDa, the number of the years of the capti- 
vity: which books Michaelis, Gesenius, and Bleek, 
believe to have been the Scriptures of the Old Testa- 
ment, which then existed in a collective form : though 
others, as Bertholdt and De Wette, think they were 
only a collection of the prophetical writings. How 
difficult soever it may be to determine which of these 
two opinions possesses the higher claim on our recep- 
tion, this much is certain, that a particular collection 
of sacred books must have existed in the time of the 
prophet, since he never would have used the plural 
number when referring to the book of Jeremiah, from 
which alone he could have obtained the information 
spoken of, except that book had existed among others, 
to which it was assimilated by the sacredness of its 
character ; and, that these were, in an eminent sense, 
^"Tpy^, '^the Boohs'' rd /3t/3X<a, al ypa(pa\, in other 
words, " the sacred writings," is supported by the 
traditional interpretation of the Jewish punctators, 


who have pointed the preposition so as to express the 

From the former of these passages it may be inferred, 
that, while the original writings were deposited in the 
Temple, copies were taken and circulated throughout 
the land. That copies were taken is certain from the 
facts, that the Levites and priests, whom Jehoshaphat 
sent to teach in the cities of Judah, took the book of 
the law of the Lord with them, (2 Chron. xvii. 9 ;) and 
that the Samaritans were in possession of the five 
books of Moses, prior to the captivity. And though 
there is reason to believe they did not exist in great 
numbers during the idolatrous periods which imme- 
diately preceded the deportation of the Jews to 
Babylon, nothing was more natural than an increased 
attention to the Law of God, after that event, to 
which, in combination with their afflictive circum- 
stances, may, in a great measure, be ascribed their 
complete abandonment of idolatry, and return to the 
pure w^orship of Jehovah. 

On the return of the captives to Judea, and the 
restoration of their ancient polity, an anxiety to conform 
in every point to the requirements of the divine law, 
may easily be imagined. And that such an anxiety 
did exist is evident from the distinct and repeated 
references made to the law of Moses in the books of 
Ezra and Nehemiah ; and especially from the eagerness 
with which the people listened to it, when read at their 
own special request, on the first day of the year, by 
the former of these patriots. " And all the people 
"gathered themselves together as one man into the 
" street, that was before the water-gate ; and they 


" spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the 
"law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded to 
" Israel. And Ezra the priest brought the law before 
" the congregation both of men and women, and all 
" that could hear with understanding, upon the first 
"day of the seventh month. And he read therein 
" before the street, that was before the water-gate, from 
" the morning until mid-day, before the men and the 
" women, and those that could understand ; and the 
" ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of 
" the law. And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit 
" of wood, which they had made for the purpose ; and 
" beside him stood Mattithiah, and Shema, and Anaiah, 
"and Urijah, and Hilkiah, and Maaseiah, on his right 
" hand ; and on his left hand, Pedaiah, and Mishael, 
" and Malchiah, and Hashum, and Hashbadana, Zecha- 
"riah, and Meshullam. And Ezra opened the book 
" in the sight of all the people ; (for he was above all 
" the people ;) and when he opened it, all the people 
" stood up : and Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. 
"And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with 
" lifting up their hands : and they bowed their heads, 
" and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the 
" ground. Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, 
" Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maasseiah, 
" Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the 
" Levites, caused the people to understand the law : 
" and the people stood in their place. So they read 
" in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave 
" the sense, and caused them to understand the 
" reading." (Neh. viii. 1 — 8.) They again assem- 
bled daily for a whole week for the same purpose ; 


and on the great fast, which was afterwards celebrated, 
no less than a fourth part of the day was occupied in 
this exercise, (ch. ix. 1 — 3.) Such an instance of deep 
interest in the holy Scriptures is unparalleled in the 
history of the Jewish nation ; and at this, if at any 
period of that history, we might expect to find extra- 
ordinary exertions made to render the canon as com- 
plete as possible. It is accordingly to the combination 
of events which then took place, that both Jewish and 
Christian writers have, in general, attributed the 
formation of the collection of Old Testament writings 
now in our possession. The Rabbins have a tradition, 
that, on the rebuilding of the temple, Ezra assembled 
a college of a hundred and twenty scholars, commonly 
known by the name of nbiijin noo?, The Great Synagogue, 
for the express purpose of collecting and arranging, 
^under his inspection, all the sacred books, which were 
then found in the hands of the Jews. Some degree of 
discredit has been thrown on this statement by the 
fabulous additions which have been made to it by the 
author of the second book of Esdras, and others, to the 
effect, that the law having disappeared at the destruc- 
tion of the temple by Nebuchadnezzar, it was necessary 
that Ezra should have it all restored to him by imme- 
diate inspiration ; which favour having been vouch- 
safed, he dictated it to his colleagues, who had no 
sooner completed their task, than the Temple copy 
preserved by Jeremiah was discovered, and on com- 
paring the two together, it was found that they did not 
differ in a single letter. But, apart from these mar- 
vellous addenda, the tradition must commend itself to 
our judgment as, on the whole, possessing a liigh degree 


of probability. Indeed, if something of the kind had 
not taken place, it does not appear how the belief of it 
could have so generally prevailed. And who was so 
competent to conduct such a work as Ezra, whose skill 
in sacred literature was so distinguished, that the 
honourable name of ^ni?, priest, was almost entirely 
merged in that of ict), scribe^ and to mark whose pro- 
ficiency in literary labours, the epithet ready was 
annexed to the appellation : h'^q nnin-i Tnp -isb «ini, " and 
he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses ?" That 
a college of learned men did exist after the captivity, 
is proved by a passage in the first book of Maccabees, 
(vii. 12,) where it is called awayioyr] ypaju/zartw)^, a 
Synagogue of scribes, which, in all probability, was a 
continuation of that founded by Ezra, and the same 
which afterwards, with considerable modifications, 
existed under the name of the Sanhedrim. It is not 
necessary to suppose that the collecting of the Sacred 
Books was the sole end for which the members of this 
assembly were convened : this was, in all probability, 
only one among many points to which their attention 
was called ; and after these had been effected, it was 
quite natural for them to prosecute their labours in 
reference to any affairs of difficulty that might arise in 
the public administration. In this way, what was 
originally designed to be temporary became per- 

To what length towards its completioil the canon 
was, at this time, carried, we possess no positive his- 
torical information from which to determine. Accord- 
ing to a statement made in the Talmud, the members 

(1) Stuart on the Old Testament Canon, pp. 82, 83. 


of the Great Synagogue copied Ezekiel, the twelve 
minor prophets, Daniel, and the book of Esther, while 
Ezra wrote the book which bears his name, and the 
genealogical tables in the Chronicles down to his 
own time. It is generally supposed that Nehemiah, 
who is said to have founded a sacred library in the 
Temple, (2 Mace. ii. 13,) and Malachi, the last of the 
prophets, put their seal to the sacred collection by the 
addition of their own writings ; though some are of 
opinion that it was not finally closed till the time of 
Simon the Just, who flourished about the beginning 
of the third century before Christ. The books were 
now translated into Greek ; and we not only find them 
divided into three parts by the translator of the book 
of Ecclesiasticus, in the year B.C. 130, corresponding 
to the classification in our present Hebrew Bible, but 
this division is spoken of as possessing some degree of 
antiquity by the author of the book himself, who is 
supposed to have lived nearly two centuries before the 
birth of our Lord. 

On the ground that certain books are found in the 
Greek version of the Old Testament, which were never 
known to exist in the Hebrew Canon, Semler,^ Cor- 
rodi,2 Augusti,3 and others, have maintained, that the 
Egyptian Canon differed from that of Palestine. 
Nothing, however, in the shape of positive proof, has 
been adduced in support of this opinion ; and even 
the conjectures which these authors have advanced in 
its justification, have been shown by Eichhorn* and 

(1) Apparatus ad liberaUor. V. T. interpret, p. IS. 

(2) Versuch einer Beleuchtung, &c. part i. chap. 2. 

(3) Einleit. ins Alte Test. p. 72. 

(4) Ut supra. 


Bauer^ to be without foundation. Not only does it 
appear, that, notwithstanding the jealousy with which 
the Palestinian Jews regarded the efforts of their 
brethren in Egypt to support a separate religious 
establishment, the latter never lost their attachment to 
the country and institutions of their ancestors, and 
therefore were not likely to deviate so far from their 
received faith, as to admit mere human writings into a 
collection, which they had been taught to regard as 
exclusively divine ; but the classification of the sacred 
books above referred to, which was made by Jesus, the 
son of Sirach, and that which is essentially the same, 
furnished by Philo, both of them Alexandrian Jews, 
clearly evince that the Apocryphal books formed no 
part of the Egyptian Canon. And, indeed, the former 
of these writers carefully distinguishes between the 
inspired books and the moral sayings of his grandfather, 
his translation of which forms one of the books in 
question. Apologizing in his Prologue for any imper- 
fection which might be found in the work, he writes, 
" Wherefore let me entreat you to read it with favour 
"and attention, and to pardon us, wherein we may 
" seem to have come short of some words, which we 
"have laboured to interpret. For the same things 
" uttered in Hebrew, and translated into another 
" tongue, have not the same force in them ; and not 
'•'' onli) these things, hut the law itself and the prophets, 
" and the rest of the books, have no small difference, 
" when they are expressed in their own language." 
The circumstance too, that though Philo was acquainted 
with the Apocryphal Books, yet he never quotes any 

(1) Einleit. § xxxvii. 


of them, shows, that he viewed them in a very different 
light from that in which he regarded the Canonical 
Scriptures, which he cites and treats as inspired. To 
which we may add the testimony of Josephus,^ that no 
Jew had ever ventured to add to or detract from the 
twenty-two national books — which obviously applies to 
his brethren in Egypt as well as in Palestine ; and to 
the Greek translation equally as to the Hebrew 

To the canon of the Old Testament as existing in 
their day, our Lord and his apostles have, as we have 
shown in a former Lecture, given their unqualified 
sanction. They not only allowed, but expressly main- 
tained and vindicated the divine authority of the books 
of which it was composed. Their frequent appeals to 
these books ; the importance which they attach to their 
decisions ; and their direct and positive ascription of 
them to a supernatural influence ; prove that they 
singled them out from the mass of works then extant as 
alone worthy of the religious faith and confidence of 
mankind. They speak of them as a corpus lihrorum, 
a definite collection of holy writings, well known as 
such to the Jews, in whose hands they were. If, in 
addition to this, they had specified by name the dif- 
ferent books in the Jewish canon, no question respecting 
any of them could have been fairly agitated by those 
who bow to the high authority with which they were 
invested ; but this not being the case, it remains to be 
proved, that the books which we now find in the canon 
are precisely those which it contained in their time. 

(1) Contra Apion. lib. i. § 8. 

(2) Stuart on the Old Testament Canon, pp. 298—300. 


Except we are satisfied in regard to this identity, we 
cannot ascribe to our collection as a whole, the same 
authority which they ascribed to the collection that 
formed the subject of their appeals. 

It will be admitted, that the only proper method of 
proceeding with the investigation in reference to these 
books is, to examine the witnesses who lived in or near 
the time to which reference is made, and carefully to 
weigh and compare the testimonies which they have 
furnished on the subject. In conducting this exami- 
nation, however, we must discriminate those who inci- 
dentally advert to it, or assert the authority of certain 
books, or classes of books, or quote from them, from 
such as professedly treat of the canon : since it must 
be evident, that omissions on the part of the former 
are not to be placed in the same estimate with those 
which might be found in the latter. 

The earliest testimony which bears upon the Jewish 
canon is that contained in the book of Ecclesiasticus, 
which Eichhorn considers to have been written within 
two centuries before Christ. In this work we discover 
manifest indications of the books which were accounted 
sacred at the time when it was written. Commencing 
with Moses and Joshua, whom he designates the suc- 
cessor of the former in prophecies, the author enume- 
rates Samuel, David, Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, 
Ezekiel, and the twelve prophets, as those who had 
furnished, in their writings, the knowledge of the 
various topics which he celebrates, or whose actions, 
as described in these writings, form the subject of his 
discourse. It deserves special attention, that he takes 
the sacred writers in the order of chronology, just as 


they commonly stand in our Bibles ; and that though 
he brings his stoi^y down to the time of Simon the 
Second, the minor prophets are the last of whom he 
predicates the gift of inspiration. (See chapters xlix. 1.) 
To Solomon especially he ascribes songs, proverbs, 
parables, and interpretations, by which last he most 
probably means the book of Ecclesiastes. 

In the New Testament the collection of Divine 
Scriptures is represented as commencing and ending 
with the same books that occupy the first and last 
place in our present canon. Thus our Lord, designing 
to comprehend all the instances in which innocent 
blood had been shed, cites that of Abel from Genesis, 
and that of Zacharias from the close of the Second of 
Chronicles, which is the last book in the Hebrew Bible. 
(Matt, xxiii. 35.) It is also divided into "The Law 
of Moses, the Pkophets, and the Psalms," (Luke 
xxiv. 44,) the third of which classes comprehends the 
Chethuvim, or Hagiographa, according to the custom 
of the Jews to designate by synecdoche a book, or 
number of books, from that Avith which it commences. 
It also contains direct quotations from, or obvious 
references to all the books now in the Old Testament 
canon, except those of Ruth, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, 
the Song of Solomon, Lamentations, and Ezekiel ; to 
which, however, on the presumption that they existed, 
it does not appear the writers had any occasion to ad- 
vert. In the present case, as we have already shewn, 
the testimony is strictly divine, being that either of the 
Son of God himself, or of his apostles who were infalli- 
bly taught by the Holy Spirit.* 

(1) Stuart on the Old Testament Canon, § 1 7- J 19. 
D D 


Our next witness is Philo, who was contemporary 
with Christ and his apostles. He nowhere professes 
to give us a complete catalogue of the books of the Old 
Testament ; but, in his book on a Contemplative Life,^ 
when treating of the Therapeutae, he distinguishes 
between those compositions which had been written by 
the founders of that sect, and " the Holy Scriptures," 
which he divides into the Laws, the divinely-inspired 
Prophetic Oracles, the Hymns, and the other 
Books, and of which alone he asserts that they were 
admitted into their sacred places.^ We farther find 
scattered through his works, express or more current 
citations from all the books, which we now possess, or 
some mention made of , them, with the exception of 
Ruth, Chronicles, Nehemiah, Esther, Lamentations, 
Daniel, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon. 

Nor can his silence with respect to these be fairly 
construed into a proof against their existence in the 
canon, since they may all be classed under one or other 
of the books, the authors of which he expressly speci- 
fies ; or it may be assumed, that his subject furnished 
no occasion for a separate reference to them. 

The most complete of the ancient testimonies is that 
borne by Josephus in his first book against Apion. 
It is as follows : " It was neither permitted to every 
" one who pleased to write, nor does any discrepancy 

(1) Tom. ii. p. 475. Ed. Mang. 

(2) 'Ev eKcLGTr] 6e oiKia lepov, o KaXeirat (T€/xvctov Kai fiovaari]piov, kv 
w idLOvov/sevoi Tfi rov trefivov j3lov fivarijpia TeXovvrat, /iijdti' el<rKOjLttfovT6r, /x»; 
TTOTov, ni] airlov, fxiidev ri tSi/ aWuf, oaa Trpor tu^ tov awfiajo^ xpetaj 
ava-yKuXa, aWa NOMOYS, Kal AOFIA eeffirKrOivTa dta nPO<DHTnN, ko.i 
'YMN0Y2, Kal TA 'AAAA, o'h kiTi(ni]fxr\ Kai evae^eta avvav^ovrat Kal reXeiovv- 
rai — 'EvTvyxdvovrev yap roif 'lEI'OIZ TPAMMASl, <pi\o<jo<povfft Ttjv irdrpiov 

^(XoffO^fUl', K. T. \. 


" exist in the things which are written ; — the prophets 
" alone, having been taught by inspiration of God, 
" wrote the earliest and rrjost ancient events, and accu- 
" rately recorded those of their own times, as they 
" happened. For we have not innumerable books, 
" which are discordant and conflicting, but only twenty- 
" two, containing a history of all past time, and j ustly 
" believed to be divine. Of these, five are from Moses, 
" containing the laws and the account of the origin of 
" mankind, and extend to his death, thus including a 
" period of nearly three thousand years. And from 
" the death of Moses till the reign of Artaxerxes, who 
" reigned over the Persians after Xerxes — the prophets, 
" who lived after Moses, have recorded in thirteen 
" books the things which were done in their time. 
" The remaining four contain songs of praises to God, 
" and precepts for the government of human life. From 
" the time, indeed, of Artaxerxes to our own, every 
" thing has been recorded ; but these accounts are not 
" deemed worthy of the same degree of credit with 
" those written earlier, owing to the absence of a 
" regular succession of prophets. The faith with which 
" we receive our Scriptures is manifest : for though so 
" long a period has already elapsed, no one has dared 
" either to add to, detract from, or alter them in any 
" respect. It is an innate principle with every Jew, 
" by which he is influenced from his very birth, to 
" regard them as announcements of the Divine will, 
" perseveringly to adhere to them, and if necessary, 
" willingly to die for them. Hence many of our nation, 
" who have been captives, have often been seen to 
" submit to racks and all kinds of death in the theatres. 


" because they would not utter a word against the 
" laws, and the records which accompany them. But 
" which of the Greeks would be willing to suffer, or 
" incur the least danger, though all their writings wer6 
" to be destroyed ? And no wonder ; for they regard 
" them merely as discourses framed according to the 
" pleasure of those who wrote them." ^ 

On this important statement, furnished us by one 
who was so competent to decide on a subject of this 
nature, we remark, 

First, That Josephus clearly distinguishes the books 
which were received by his nation as sacred and divine, 
from others written afterwards, on behalf of which no 
such claim could be advanced. The attachment of the 

(1) are (ifjre rov Ino'^pdipeiv aiiTe^ovaiov irdffiv oVto?, fJit]Te tivos ev 

Totr ypa^ofxevots evovativ Siacpoovia^' dWa jjLovtav ru)v iTpo(p}iTwv ra /xev 
uvwTciTW icat Tct TraXaioraTu, Ka-a tJ/V eirlTrvoLav Ttjv iino tov Qeov jua^oi/Ttov, 
to; de Kat(' avTOw to)P kytveTo, aacpw <ri/7')pa06i/T<i)i/. Ou fctp /mvptddei /3ij3\i(i)v 
elcrt Trap' rj/J-^v, uffvfjL^divoiv Kai fiaxo/jLtvcov' biio be fxova irpos to?? e'lKocrt /3j/3/\m, 
TOv TravTo? exovra xpovov rtjv iivaypa^tjv, ru diKalaii 0eia ireTTta-evfieva. Kai 
rotiTwv ■Kevre fxtv kan to. Mu>u<Te(i)<:, a rovv re vofxovi nepitx-h Kai rrjv rrit 
avOpioir Of ovia^ nopc'tdocnv, /ut'xpt t>i^ ai/Tiw reXevTi)^. Ovto? 6 xpoVo? uTroXe*- 
nei Tpio'X'Xt'Oi' oXiyov eTutv. 'Atto 5t tTj? Mcovatoos reXevrti? ^^■txpl Trj? Apra- 
^ep^ov, TOV juera Hepfriv TlepaSbv ^aaiXeooi upxh^t ol fierct Moov<tTiv npo^rtrat 
ra kut' avTOus irpaxOtrvra avvi:fpa\l/av kv rpicri aai 6eKa fii/3\ioi^. At 6e \oinat 
reavapei vfxvov^ ets tov Qeov Kai Tolf avDpwiroi^ vnoOtjuav rov ^iov Treptexo"- 
<rtv. 'Atto 3e 'Apra^ip^ov jJ-expi tov Kaff »)^iu9 XPOvov feypairrai fxev eKaara' 
fri<TTea)r de ovx o/joia? ijft'toTaj toi? Trpo aiiTwv, dtd to fit] 'j/evtaOat ti/v tSk 
irpo<pt]T5>v uKpi^t} 6ia6ox>]v. AT)\ov 6' karlv t-'p^w nwf ri/ueir toIs idioic ypd/ji- 
fxaai ntTTiffTevKaixev. "Voaovrov 7np aluivov »i >»i TraptoxuKo-ov, oiire irpoadeivai 
T(C ovdiv oi/Te ufpeXeiv avriov, ovre neraOeivat TCToX^iriKe. Flao-t 5t <TVfji<pvr6v 
e<rTi evOvi sk rri^ jrptoT*!? yevecreoj^ 'lovSaion, to vo/jti^eiv aura Qeov boy/jLara, 
nai TOUTOt? e/J-fxtveiv, Kai virep avTusv el heot 9vi]<TKeiv i,bio)^. "H6i| ovv woWol 
iroWaKif ewpavrai tuiv alxfJi-ciXwroiv, ffxpeySXar Kai navToiwv Oavdrcov rponovt 
ev Oedrpoiv viroyufccoi/Ter, eirl to fjirfbev /irj/ua TcpoeaBai Trapa toit vo/xoi/s Kai Tcir 
/L16TU Tourwi' ava7pa^dr. "O tiv av viro^eiveiev 'V.Wi]v<i)v i/nep aiiTOv, a\\ 
i/irep rov Kai ndura ru nap avroiv a(paviaDr\vai avyypdiJ.iJ.ara, rijv rvxovaav 
inroffrtjfferai fi\d(ir\v\ XoYoi;? ^ap ai'Ta voix'i^ovaiv elvat, Kara ri]v rCbv ypa- 
^anTti)!/ /3oiy\»ia»i/ t(Txe3«a<r/ievoi/r. — Contra Apionem, lib. i. cap. 7, 8. 


Jews to the former was strictly religious, and, for this 
reason, unconquerable. 

Secondly, They were held in so high a degree of 
veneration, that any attempt to introduce an alteration 
into them would be regarded as an act of atrocity 
unheard of in their history. They were carefully 
preserved, and transmitted without augmentation, dimi- 
nution, or mutation, from one generation to another. 

Thirdly, The same classification, which we have 
noticed in the preceding testimonies, is here expressly 
recognised: the sacred books being divided into the 
Pentateuch, the Prophets, and the rest of the 
books not included in these two classes. 

Fourthly, The writer specifies the period during 
which the series of sacred books was written : viz. from 
the time of Moses to the reign of Artaxerxes Longi- 
manus, a mode of expression which is evidently so 
indeterminate, that it may be made to comprehend the 
whole of the reign of that monarch. The last of the 
books in point of time, which he assigns to the canon, 
is that of Esther, the events narrated in which chrono- 
logically belong to the reign of Artaxerxes. 

Fifthly, According to the investigations of Eichhorn ' 
and Jahn,^ the following is the specific arrangement of 
the books, which composed the Jewish canon in the 
days of Josephus. First class, The Five Books of 
Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and 
Deuteronomy. — Second class, Thirteen Prophetical 
Books: 1. Joshua. 2. Judges and Puth. 3. Two 
books of Samuel. 4. Two books of Kings. 5. Two 
books of Chronicles. 6. EzraandNehemiah. 7. Esther, 

(1) Einleitung, § 50. (2) Introduction, § 28. 


8. Isaiah. 9. Jeremiah and Lamentations. 10. Ezekiel. 
11. Daniel. 12. The Twelve Minor Prophets. 13. Job. 
— Third class, The remaining Four: 1. Psalms. 
2. Proverbs. 3. Ecclesiastes. 4. Song of Solomon. 
The sum total of the books thus classified amounts to 
twenty-tivo, to which number the Jews are supposed to 
have reduced them in order to make it correspond with 
the number of letters originally in their alphabet ; 
just as, in the opinion of Jerome, the Hellenists after- 
wards enlarged it, by separating Ruth from Judges, 
and Lamentations from Jeremiah, in order to make it 
twenty-four, the number of letters in the Greek alpha- 
bet. That they were accustomed to count two or more 
books as one, we learn from Origen ; and nothing could 
be more natural than the combination of Ruth with 
Judges, Nehemiah with Ezra, Lamentations with 
Jeremiah, and the two books of Samuel, Kings, and 
Chronicles respectively with each other. In fact, most 
of them continued undivided till the time of Bomberg, 
who introduced the separation into one of his celebrated 
editions of the Hebrew Bible, in the commencement of 
the seventeenth century. The reckoning of all the 
Minor Prophets to one book, must be very ancient, 
since we meet with a reference to them under the 
designation of " J7ie Book of the Prophets." (Acts 
vii. 42.) The only apparent discrepancy in this ar- 
rangement is the allotting to Job a place among the 
prophets: but this discrepancy vanishes, when it is 
recollected, that the term prophets in application to the 
sacred books of the Hebrews comprised such writings 
as were composed by insj)ired men : hence Joshua, 
Judges, Ruth, &c. are reckoned in the common Jewish 


division of the canon among the former prophets. 
Besides, the book of Job being regarded as a true nar- 
rative clothed in a poetic dress, came naturally to 
occupy a place among historical books of the class to 
which reference has just been made. 

Although the celebrated passage on which we have 
made these remarks is the only one in the writings of 
the Jewish historian, in which he professedly treats 
of the canon of the Old Testament, it must not be 
inferred, that his works contain no further allusions to 
it. On the contrary, his pages constantly exhibit the 
designations, " the ancient books," " the books of the 
Hebrews," " Hebrew books," " the sacred books," "the 
books of the sacred Scriptures," " the books of pro- 
phecy," &c. and allege statements from most of them, 
according as the subjects of which he treats required. 
He regarded them in their collective state as long ago 
complete ; and, like the rest of his nation, considered 
them to be so sacred as not to allow of being tampered 
with in any respect whatever.^ 

Next to the testimony of Josephus ranks that of 
Melito, bishop of Sardis, about the middle of the 
second century, who travelled into the East expressly 
for the purpose of ascertaining from the Jews resident 
there the number and order of the books in their canon. 
The result he communicated in a letter'^ to Onesimus, 

(1) Stuart ut sup. pp. 308—318. 

(2) MeXtToJv 'Ovealfxif rw cideXcpw xcttpe^i'* e7ret3>/ noWaKu h^iuxrai; anovSt/ 
Ttj Trpo? Tov \6yov xpmfievos yeve(T6ai croi eKXoyas, €k re -rov vofjiov Kal rCbv 
irpo(pt)rS)v Trepi tov aoorripo^ Kal Tutrris tTj? Tr/o-Teto? riiJ.wv. "Eti de Kal ftaOeiv 
Ttjv Twv iraXatwv ^ifiXioiv ej3ov\i]9r\9 aKpi/Secav, woaa tov apiOfxov, Kal onoia 
Tf/v Tciftv eieVf eairovdacra to tocovto Trpafat, 67r<<rTa/uev6c (tov to awovdaiov 
Trepi rr]v Tzicrriv, Kal (piXoixaOesTrepl tov Xoyov. "On tc fid\i(na ndvToiv TroOtf: 
TO* Trpo? ©eov Toura wpoKpivei^ Trepi tJ)? aioyviov o-tOTupia? iijuvc^ofxevoi' iiv 
kXOuiv ovv elr tJ/v ufaToXrjv, Kal eur tov tottov 7ev6^le^'0? tvOa eKt]pvx(fn Ka 


containing a catalogue, in which all the books now in 
the canon are specified, excepting Nehemiah, Esther, 
and Lamentations ; — with respect to which it may be 
sufficient to remark, that it was customary to reckon 
the book last mentioned to that of Jeremiah ; and, as 
Ezra and Nehemiah were frequently considered as one, 
it is in the highest degree probable that Melito compre- 
hended under Ezra all the three books, which treat of 
the historical affairs of the Jews after the captivity. ^ 

In the ecclesiastical history of Eusebius we are fur- 
nished with a catalogue of the canonical books of the 
Jews as given by Origen in his Exposition of the 
First Psalm,^ in which he assigns to them the number 

t7rpax^>JKa« aKpi/3u)s fxaOdavTii Tin TraXata? 6ia()r,iir\'s j3i^\ia, uTTOTufar fc7re/A>|/a 
orot" 0)1/ eo-Tt TO. oKo/iaTO. MwucTfcci)? TTtvTe" •^eveaii, e^odo9, XeviTtnov, aptO/jiol, 
oeuTepoi/ojLtiai/' 'Incrovs vavri, Kpiral, povO' j3a<Ti\tiwv reaaepa, irapaXenro- 
fxbvav dvo. ^a\iJi5)v dafiid, aaXofilovo? Ttapoifxiat, rj Kal <TO<pia, eKK\r)(riaaT'tji, 
(xcrfjia ^CT/Uarcdi', iw/3. lipo^r]Tu)v, iiaatov, lepefiLov, tS>v diij&eKa kv /jlovo^i/SXco, 
davirjX, leCtiii>j\, ecrdpdi' €? civ Kal rus e/cXo7a? e'7roir]adfir]v, eir ef /3i(S\ia 
o/eXwi/. — Eusebii Hist. Eccles. lib. iv. cap. 2G. 

(1) Eichhorn's Einleit. § 52, an 1 Bmns in his Edition of Kennicctt's Dissert . 
General, p. 178. 

(2) Tov /lei/ joi'/e npwTov ef »)70l•^le^09 \//aA/u6i', eK9e<Ttv 'ireiroir)Tai tov t5v 
lepZv jpa^wv Tfjf TraXata? diaOrjKt}^ KaraXofov, (ode irco? ypd^utv Kara Xe^iv' 
oi/K ayvoriTeov 6' etvat ray t:v6ia6>]K.ov9 /3i/3Xovs, toy 'E/3paiot wapadidoaaiv, duo 
Kal e'lKoai' oao^ 6 apiOfjiOi tSi/ Trap' avroii aroixeiuv ea-riu' eira fierd riva, 
t-TZKpkpet Xtyav' el(Ti 6e al eiKoai duo jSi/SXoi KaO' ' Efdpalow aide' r'j Trap' ijfxlLV 
7eveo-tj eni'ye-ypai.i.ij.tvri, Ttapd Se 'E/3paioi^ airb rm "PX'JS' "^h^ l3i/3Xov /Spija tO, 
oTrep LtCTTti/ ti/ apxt'r €^0609, ouuXe c jj-oa 0^, brrep iarl ravra rd oi/oyuara' 
XevtTiKov, ov iKp a, Kal tKaXeaev aptOfj.01 ufx/jLecr^eKwdeiiJ.'' devTepovofjiioi', 
fc'AXe adde^aplfx, ovtoi ot Xoyoi' 'lt)<rovs vlot 'Sav7i,'la}(Tve ^ev Jiovv' Kptral, 
jjoiiO, nap' avTOii ev dvl cr ta (p e t L fx' /SaacXeiwv irpiirii, devTtpa, Trap' avroii 
tv IZa /J. o V i] X, 6 OeoKXriTOi' /3a<7iXetu>v rpirri, rerdpTt] ev evi ovafx/xiXcK 
()a/3l6, oirep ecnl ^acriXeia 6a/3id' napaXemontvaJv nptbrt}, devrepa, tv evl, 
di/Sprj ai a jj. I iJL, oTrep eari Xoyoi rinepoov' eadpai npwTOS Kal dtvrepo^ ev ^vl 
fc^l'pa, 6 e'cTTt /3oii06s' /3i/3\of \l/aXfj.(i>v ff e (p e p Oi'XXiiJ.. SoXo^uJitoj trapoi- 
fj.ia[, fxiaXiiiO, eKKXtjaiaaTiji, K(j)eXeO, ^afia ^(r(uaTtoi/, alp aa aip i p.' 
riaaia^, 'le<xaid. 'Iepe/x<ar ai/v Bptivon Kal t»7 eiriaToXtj ev evl, 'fepe/uiu. 
AavitjX, Aafo'/X. 'leftKoiX, 'lee^KijX. 'lw/3, 'I a'l /3. 'EaOqp, 'EaOtfp. 
"Kfo) de TOvTbiv earl rd MaKKa/SaiKu, cnrep kniyi'jpaTtTat 2 ap^ijti <rap jia v e 
t X. — Eusebii Hist. Ecdes. lib. vi. cnp. 25. 


twenty-two, and mentions all now received, if we 
except the minor prophets, which must have been 
omitted by some copyist, since it is evident from other 
parts of the writings of that father, that he regarded 
them as inspired. What renders the testimonies of 
Melito and Origen of gi*eater importance, is the circum- 
stance of their having both lived in the second century, 
and the former especially so very near the time of 

There are only two additional sources of evidence 
to which it is necessary to refer, since the other testi- 
monies, which are exceedingly numerous, exactly cor- 
respond with them. The former of these is Jerome, 
who flourished in the fourth century, and is justly 
regarded as the first Biblical critic in point of eminence 
to be found among the Fathers. Among other subjects 
of investigation, in connection with the Hebrew studies 
which he prosecuted in Palestine, that before us 
claimed his special attention ; and he gives us the 
result of his inquiries respecting it in his celebrated 
Prologus Galeatus, in which he specifies every book at 
present in the Hebrew canon, and shews how the 
number might be estimated either at twenty-two or 
twenty-four, according as the books of Ruth and 
Lamentations were or were not reckoned along with 
Judges and Jeremiah respectively.^ The other source 

(1) Viginti et duas litteras esse apud Hebraeos, Syrorum quoque lingua et 
Chaldseorum testatur, quae hebrasae magna ex parte confinis est. Namet ipsi 
viginti duo elementa habent, eodem sono et diversis characteribus. Porro 
quinque litterae duplicis apud Hebrasos sunt, Caph, Mem, Nun, Pe, Sade. 
Unde et quinque a plerisque libri duplices sxistimantur, Samuel, Metachim, 
Dibre Hajamim, Esdras, Jeremias cum Cinoth, id est lamentationibus suis. 
Quomodo igitur viginti duo elementa sunt, per quae scribimus hebraeice omne 
quod loquimur, eteorem initiis vox humana comprehenditur ; ita viginti duo 


is the Talmud, which may be referred to much about 
the same period, and is to be viewed as furnishing the 
testimony of the Masorites or Jewish critics, who 
occupied themselves in the most minute manner with 

volumina supputantur, quibus quasi litteris et exordiis in Dei doctrina, tenera 
adhuc et lactens viri justi eruditur infantia. 

Primus apud eos liber vocatur Beresith, quem nos Genesin dicimus. Se- 
cundus Veelle Semoth. Tertius Vajlkra, id est, Leviticus. Quartus Vaje' 
dabher, quem Numeros vocamus. Quintus Elle haddebarim, qui Deutero- 
nomium prsenotatur. Hi sunt quinque libri Mosis, quos proprie Thora, id 
est, Legem, appellant. 

Secundum Prophetarum ordinem faciunt, et incipiunt ab Jesu filio Nave, 
qui apud eos Josue Ben Nun dicitur. Deinde subtexunt Sopheiim, id est Judi- 
cimi librum : et in eundem compingant Ruth, quia in diebus Judicum facta 
ejus narratur historia. Tertius sequitur Samuel, quem nos Regura primum et 
secundum dicimus. Quartus Melachim, id est Regum, qui tertio et quarto 
Regum volumine continetur. Meliusque multo est Melachim, id est Regum, 
quam Melachoth, id est Regnorum, dicere : Non enim multarum gentium 
describit regna, sed unius Israelitici populi, qui tribibus duodecim continetur. 
Quintus est Esaias. Sextus Jeremias. Septimus Ezekiel. Octavus liber 
duodecim Prophetarum, qui apud illos vocatur Thereasar. 

Tertius ordo Hagiograplia possidet. Et primus liber incipit a Job. Se- 
cundus a David, quem quinque ineisionibus et uno Psalmorum volumine 
comprehendunt. Tertius est Salomon, tres libros habens, Proverbia, quae illi 
Misle, id est Parabolas, appellant. Quartus Ecclesiasticus, id est Coheleth. 
Quintus Canticum Canticorum, quem titulo Sir h'tssirim praenotant. Sextus 
est Daniel. Septimus Dibre hajammim, id est Verba dierum, quod signifi- 
cantius Chronicon totius divinae liistoriae possumus appellare, qui liber apud 
nos Pardleipomenon primus'et secundus inscribitur. Octavus Esdras : qui 
et ipse similiter apud Graecos et Latinos in duos libros divisus est. Nonus 

Atque itafiunt pariter VeterisLegis libri viginti duo, id est, ilfom quinque, 
et Prophetarum octo, Hagiographorum novem. 

Quanquam nonnulli Ruth et Cinoth inter Hagiographa scriptitent, et lios 
libros in sue putent numero supputandos, ac per hoc esse priscae Legis libros 
viginti quatuor. 

Hie prologus scripturarum quasi galeatum principium omnibus libris, quos 
de Hebraeo vertimus in Latinum, convenire potest: ut scire valeamus, quic- 
quid extra hos est, inter apocrypha esse ponendum. Igitur Sapientia quae 
vulgo Salomonis inscribitur, et Jesu filii Sirach liher, et Judith et Tobias, 
et Pastor non sunt in Canone. Machabceorum primum librum hebraicum 
reperi. Secundus graecus est, quod ex ipsa quoque phrasi probari potest. 
S. Hieronymi Opera, tom. iii. p. 682, ed. Mar. Vict. Reatini. Paris, 1624. 
Or, in Eichhorn's Einleitung, § 55. 


every thing connected with the state of the Hebrew 
text. In the tract entitled Bava Bathra, the books of 
Scripture are first divided into the Law, the Prophets, 
and the Chethuvim, after which the name of each book 
of the latter divisions is given separately. They are 
twenty -four in number, and likewise agree with those 
now extant.^ 

It is only with regard to the canonicity of a few of 
the books comprised in the Hebrew Bible, that any 
serious doubts have been entertained ; but these doubts 
will be found to have been originated, not by any 
deficiency of external or historical evidence, but by 
supposed grounds of rejection furnished by the books 
themselves. Thus objections have been taken against 
the inspired authority of the book of Job, on the 
ground of the incongruousness of supposing, that a 
person afflicted to desperation as Job is represented to 
have been, should have expressed himself in the mea- 
sured language of poetry, and that any thing in the 
shape of a dramatic composition should form part of 
the inspired volume. To which is added, the 'extra- 
ordinary character of the prologue, in which Satan is 
introduced into the celestial council, and represented 
as obtaining formal permission to afflict the patriarch. 
Were this the place to go into a refutation of these 
and other kindred objections, it might easily be shewn 
that there is nothing whatever in the style of the 
language which is not in perfect keeping with the 

: D^n^n nm >r\W inOX rt'aoi b^'V^ miVI C^TttJn— Fol. 14. Ed. Amsterdam. 


well-known improvisatorial habits of the Arabs, ac- 
cording to which it would even be more natural for 
one of that people under the influence of powerful 
excitement to express himself in the terse and energetic 
language of poetry, than to content himself with the 
cold tameness of prose. The other points are purely 
hypothetical; and as they have been met by other 
hypotheses, which remove the apparent difficulties, no 
value is to be attached to them. The book, which 
bears unequivocal marks of patriarchal antiquity, 
inculcates some of the most important lessons respect- 
ing Divine providence ; and though much of it is 
occupied with statements which are at variance with 
sound views of the subject, but for which inspiration 
is in no degree responsible, it being absurd to ascribe 
these statements to it as their origin, the whole was 
highly worthy of forming part of the inspired volume. 
Though not mentioned by Philo or Josephus, it is 
quoted by the Apostle Paul in the same style in which 
he usually makes citations from the Old Testament — 
yiypaii-aL yap, " for IT IS WRITTEN, He taketli the wise 
in their own craftiness." (1 Cor. iii. 19; Job v. 13.) 
It is found in the catalogues of Melito, Origen, and 
other sources of the second and third centuries. 

The objections which have been advanced against 
the book of Esther, on the ground of the folHes, 
wickedness, and cruelties narrated in it, have been ably 
refuted by Jahn and other writers, who have shewn 
that these things are not recorded with approbation, 
but simply as facts of history, illustrative of the opera- 
tions of the providence of God with a view to effect 
the deliverance of his people. Every feature exhibited 


in it is in harmony with the scene of the transactions, 
and especially the character of the king whom it de- 
scribes. No reasonable doubt can be excited by the 
absence of the Divine name, and of any direct reference 
to the Divine Being, since it is nothing more than an 
historical record, extracted, in all probability, from the 
royal chronicles, and inserted by direction of the Spirit 
of Inspiration in the sacred collection of Hebrew wri- 
tings. With a singularly bad grace is this objection urged 
by De Wette, who is loud in his complaints against 
the other historical books on account of the decided 
theocratical spirit which they universally breathe. 

The claim of the book of Esther to a place in the 
canon rests on the following facts. It is obviously 
admitted by Josephus to belong to the time of Arta- 
xerxes Longimanus, with whose reign he closes the 
inspired canon. It is found in the catalogues of 
Origen, Cyril of Jerusalem, Epiphanius, Jerome, and 
others, and in that of the Talmud ; and was translated 
as one of the canonical books of the Jews by the LXX., 
and by Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion in the 
second century.' 

The peculiar argument of the book of Ecclesiastes, 
and the want of a clear perception of the manner in 
which it is conducted, have occasioned considerable 
dissatisfaction with it both in ancient and modern 
times. On the supposition that it contains self-contra- 
dictory propositions and statements, which seem to 
countenance Epicurism, some of the rabbins wished to 
keep it back from public view, and thus, in one sense, 
to render it apocryphal ; but they were never able to 

(1) Stuart ut sup. pp. 171, 3S7— 360. 


succeed in the attempt. Equally fruitless has been 
the opposition evinced by Grotius, and after him by 
Voltaire, Semler, and others, to its canonicity and con- 
sequent inspiration. No specific mention, indeed, is 
made of it by Josephus, but the same may be said of 
that of Proverbs, which is allowed on all hands to have 
been in the canon. There can be little doubt, however, 
that it formed one of the sacred books, which that 
historian describes as treating of moral subjects. It is 
found in the catalogues of Melito, Origen, Jerome, and 
other fathers ; in the Talmud ; and in the early Greek 
versions mentioned above. ^ 

To the canonical claims of no book of the Old Tes- 
tament has a greater degree of reluctance been felt 
than to those of the Song of Solomon. Instead, how- 
ever, of these claims being brought to the test com- 
monly applied to the adjudication of the title of any 
writings to a place in the list of sacred books, they 
have been oj^posed on the ground of certain modes of 
expression, or certain representations in the book itself, 
or the difficulties which have presented themselves in 
regard to its satisfactory interpretation. But the only 
question that in our judgment can legitimately be 
entertained on the subject, respects the external 
evidence. It is a question of history, not of dogmatics. 
Have we, or have we not sufficient reason to believe, 
that it formed part of the Jewish canon in the time of 
our Saviour and his apostles ? If it did, then, as we 
have already proved, it must indisputably have received 
their sanction as a divine book, and is, on this high 
and sacred authority, to be received as such by us, 

(\) Stuart ut sup. pp. 360—364. 


irrespective of the internal difficulties which it may be 
thought to contain. If it occupied a place in that canon 
then, it cannot now be rejected with impunity. We 
are bound to receive it as the word of God, and apply 
ourselves to the study of it with the simplicity, humility, 
and prayer, which are indispensable to our attaining 
to a correct understanding of its import, and our de- 
riving from it the instruction which it was intended to 
affi)rd. What then, it may be asked, is the amount of 
testimony adducible in support of its canonicity ? That 
it is in all the Hebrew manuscripts, which profess to 
contain the entire Scriptures of the Old Testament, 
is beyond dispute. That it existed in such manuscripts 
in the days of the Masorites, that is to say, some six 
or seven hundred years previous to the transcription 
of the oldest Hebrew manuscript now extant, is equally 
incontestible. That it ever w^as wanting, we have no 
authority for supposing. It is found in the catalogue 
exhibited in the Talmud, and in those of Jerome, 
Rufinus, Origen, and Melito, and was even commented 
upon by Hippolytus and Origen. It was translated 
into Greek by Symmachus before the end of the second 
century ; by Theodotion during the first half of the 
same century ; and by Aquila, according to Jahn and 
other Biblical critics, between the years 90 and 130. 
The testimony of the last-mentioned translator is of 
high importance on three grounds. First, because it 
was expressly his design in making the version, to 
furnish his brethren the Jews with an exact repre- 
sentation of the original text of their sacred books, to 
which he accordingly adheres with the most rigid ver- 
bality. Secondly, because it supplies us with positive 


evidence of the existence of tlie book in the canon, 
at a period almost, if not entirely coincident with the 
apostolic age. And, thirdly, because of the light which 
its ascertained existence at this early period throws 
upon the testimony of Josephus, who, within at most 
half a century before, declared that no Jew would on 
any consideration dare to add to the twenty-two books, 
which constituted the sacred canon of the nation. Can 
it now be reasonably doubted, that the Song of Solomon 
formed one of the four, which that historian describes 
as celebrating the Divine praises, and furnishing pre- 
cepts for the regulation of human conduct? Is it 
likely, that between the period at which he wrote, and 
that at which the version of Aquila was executed, it 
could have been foisted into the Jewish Bible ? On 
the contrary, is it not certain, that the increased atten- 
tion which had been excited to that divine volume by 
our Lord and his apostles, and the necessary attitude 
of mutual jealousy with respect to the nature and 
interpretation of its contents, in which the Jews and 
Christians stood to each other, must have rendered it 
absolutely impossible for an interpolation to have taken 
place ? Till such time as the New Testament canon 
was completed, the Old Testament was the only collec- 
tion of sacred writings which, as a whole, had received 
the Divine sanction. It is therefore natural to suppose, 
that it would be much read by the Christians of the 
first, and part of the second century, and that not 
merely in the Greek version of the LXX., but also in 
the original Hebrew, with which great numbers of 
them must have been familiar, and quite competent to 
detect any attempted imposition. 


It is onlj necessary to add, that we have no ground 
whatever for believing that this book did not form part 
of the Septuagint before the time of our Lord, though 
the exact period at which it was translated cannot be 
ascertained. That Theodotion found it in that version 
cannot be disputed. 

When the claims of the Song of Solomon were first 
called in question in the fourth century by Theodorus 
of Mopsuestia, it appears that his objections were not 
taken from any matter of fact alleged in evidence 
against its canonicity, but simply arose out of his oppo- 
sition to every thing in the shape of allegorical expo- 
sition, and his not finding it possible to reconcile what 
he conceived to be its historical import with the sacred 
attribute of Divine inspiration. On this account he 
was severely castigated by Leontius of Jerusalem, who 
declares, that the book was not only acknowledged as 
most sacred by all who were skilled in divine things, 
and by all the churches in the world, but admired even 
by the Jews themselves, the enemies of the Cross of 

Into the subject of the interpretation of this book, it 
would be out of place to enter on the present occasion, 
further than to state our conviction, that, of all the 
modes which have been resorted to, there is none that 
commends itself as correct, or, in any degree, satisfac- 
tory, except that which recognises and illustrates the 
relation in which Jehovah stood to the church as his 
bride, who, by solemn covenant, pledged to him her 
undivided fidelity and affection ; that it applies to the 
church in her collective capacity ; and that the figures, 
so far from being designed to be taken up and explained 
E E 


singly, are to be viewed as grouped together, in the 
gorgeous style of oriental costume, for the sake of 
ornament and effect. Due attention to these simple 
principles will not only tend to remove the prejudices 
which unhappily exist against the spiritual interpreta- 
tion, but will banish entirely those luscious, sensual, and 
extravagant applications, which have so extensively 
disgraced our theological literature.^ 

Having disposed of the canon of the Old Testament 
so far as its integral parts are concerned, and adduced 
evidence to prove, that it consists of precisely the same 
books now, which it comprised in the time of our Lord,''^ 
we proceed briefly to review the Apocryphal question, 
or the claims of certain other books to a place in com- 
mon with those in the volume of inspiration. 

(1) See Professor Robinson's Calmet, Article Canticles: containing some 
valuable remarks, chiefly drawn from an Essay on the Song of Songs, by Pro- 
fessor Hengstenberg of Berlin, inserted in the Evangelische Kirche7izeifung 
for 1827; Caniic/es in Kitto's Biblical Cyclopasdia; and Stuart on the Canon 
of the Old Testament, pp. 364—385. 

(2) " From the accounts which we have hitherto collected, it appears to me 
" to be undeniable, that in the time of Christ and the apostles the canon of 
" the Jews corresponded in extent with our present editions of the Bible." — 
" So fair back as we can carry its history, even at the time when the Apocry- 
" pha again unite the broken threads of Hebrew literature, a Sacred National 
" Library is already spoken of, as if the separate parts of it were accurately 
" defined,— so that it appears to have been formed soon alter the Exile, or, 
" that a definite number of books, forming one whole, had been selected from 
" among those which diliered greatly from each other as it regards their con- 
" tents, their authors, and the peiiod of their composition, on purpose that 
" no new writings should be added to them ; though from the want of docu- 
" ments it is impossible for us to determine in what year, or why their aug- 
" mentation ceased." 

" In short, history shows, that after the Babylonish exile, and soon after 
" the re-establishment of the Jewish polity in Palestine, the canon w»s fixed, 
" and that, at that time, all the books uere received into it, which we notv find 
" in t^"— Eichhorn, Einleit. § 57. 


' The terms Apocrypha and Apocryphal, like the 
word Canon, are also of Greek origin, though some 
difference of opinion has existed respecting their deri- 
vative signification. Some, with Epiphanius, suppose 
that they are to be referred to the Kpvirrr], or ark in 
which the sacred books were kept, so that such writings 
as were not admitted into this depository, (/3</3\ot AIIO 
THS KPYIITHS,) were considered to be separate and 
profane. By others, they are derived from aTroKpvipoc, 
that which is hidden or obscure, and are supposed to 
have been applied to certain books, in order to intimate, 
that they were dark and difficult of interpretation ; 
that they were kept hack from public use in religious 
assemblies, and from young and inexperienced readers ; 
that they were the productions of unknown authors, or 
even forgeries ; or that they were merely of human 
origin, and consequently could not claim to rank witli 
books which had been divinely inspired. Owing to 
this diversity of signification, the same degree of 
obscurity often attaches to the use of the words in 
question, which attaches to the terms Canon and 
Canonical. Those who adopt the meaning, which is 
indicative of witliholdment from public inspection, 
generally appeal to the parallel use of the term 112; among 
the rabbins ; but, though it is incontestible, that 
D'M:a Dncp signify books which are laid aside, and not 
permitted to be publicly read, or put into the hands of 
all persons indiscriminately, it is equally certain, that 
such writings were nevertheless considered to be di- 
vinely inspired. The term is applied in rabbinical 
works to copies of the law, which happened to contain 
three or more errors of transcription on the same page. 


and which, on this account, were prohibited from being 
read in the synagogue: but it is also applied to the 
first chapter of Genesis, the Song of Solomon, and the 
last eight chapters of Ezekiel, respecting the inspiration 
of which no doubts were entertained, but which, it was 
thought, might easily be abused by those whose age or 
inexperience disqualified them from putting a right 
interpretation upon them. It does not appear, that it 
was ever used in reference to books of human origin : 
and therefore is altogether inappropriate in application 
to the subject before us. 

The books, or portions of books, which are strictly 
apocryphal, or destitute of all divine sanction, but have 
nevertheless been placed in the same category with the 
canonical books, are the following: — Two books of 
Esdras ; four of Maccabees ; those of Wisdom, Eccle- 
siasticus, Tobit, Judith, and Baruch ; the Appendix to 
the Book of Job ; the 151st Psalm ; the additions to the 
Books of Esther and Daniel ; the Prayer of Manasseh ; 
the Song of the Three Children ; the story of Bel and 
the Dragon ; the History of Susannah ; and the Epistle 
of Jeremiah appended to the book of Baruch. Add to 
which, the Epistle of the Corinthians to the Apostle 
Paul, and his Epistle in reply, which are found in the 
Armenian Bible. Of the former, the two books of 
Esdras, the third and fourth of Maccabees, the Prayer 
of Manasseh, the Appendix to Job, and the supernu- 
merary Psalm, are admitted by the church of Rome to 
be apocryphal ; but she will not allow the term to be 
applied to the rest, which, by the council of Trent, she 
has pronounced to be sacred and canonical, and scruples 
not to pronounce a solemn curse against any one, who 


shall not so regard them.^ The high and unbending 
, character of the decision thus given has invested the 
subject with a degree of interest, which it never would 
have acquired, had it been left to every individual to 
form his own judgment according to the evidence 
within his reach. It has accordingly ever since formed, 
and, while the decree stands, must ever form one of the 
fundamental points of controversy between the Roman 
and Protestant churches. Many who, considering the 
subordinate uses to which the apocryphal books may 
be applied, would have been the last to condemn them 
en masse, were roused to keen and determined hostility 
by the presumption of a human tribunal arrogating to 
itself the right of infallibly declaring writings to be 
upon a par with the inspired dictates of the Holy Spirit, 
which it was impossible to trace to a higher than human 
origin, and which at best had always been considered 
of doubtful authority. This opposition was increased 

(1) After having declared that the Coimcil " doth receive and reverence, 
" with equal piety and veneration, all the books as well of the Old as of the 
" New Testament, the same God being the author of both," the members pro- 
ceed to specify them; "Sunt vero infra scripti: Testamenti Veteris, 
" quinque Moysis, id est Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numeri, Deuterono- 
"mium; Josue, Judicum, Ruth, quatuor Regum, duo Paraleipomenon, 
" Esdrze primus et secundus, qui dicitur Nehemias, Tobias, Judith, Hester, 
*' Job, Psalterium Davidicum centum quinquaginta psalmorum, Parabolae, 
" Ecclesiastes, Canticum Canticorum, Sapientia, Ecclesiasticus, Isa'ias, Jere- 
" mias cum Baruch, Ezekiel, Daniel, duodecim Prophetae minores, id est, 
" Osea, Joel, Amos, Abdias, Jonas, Micheas, Nahum, Habacuc, Sophonias, 
" Aggaeus, Zacharias, Malachias; duo MachabcBorum, primus et secundus." 
[Then follow the books of the New Testament, after which the decree pro- 
ceeds,] '• Si quis autem librosipsos integros cum omnibus suis part ib us, -piout 
" in Ecclesia Catholica legi consueverunt, eti« veteri vulgata Latina editione 
" habentur, j3ro sacris et canonicis non susceperit; et traditiones prasdictas 
" sciens et prudens contempserit : Anathema sit." Though the other 
apocryphal matter specified above in the text is not mentioned in this decree, 
it is nevertheless included, being mixed up with, or appended to certain oi" 
the books here enumerated. 


on the discovery, that, in certain of these books, doc- 
trines are taught and practices sanctioned, which cannot 
be reconciled with what is inculcated in the genuine 
Scriptures. Owing, however, to the circumstance of 
their having, at the time of the Reformation, been 
translated, and bound up along with the canonical 
books in the vernacular languages of the different 
Protestant churches, they have continued to retain this 
position under a separate and cautionary heading in 
the authorized Bibles, with the exception of the Cal- 
vinistic versions, from most of the editions of which 
they have been entirely expunged. That this has not 
been the case universally both in the Lutheran and 
Reformed communions is cause of deep regret — espe- 
cially as it is an undeniable fact, that, in the former of 
these two divisions of the professing church, some of 
the Apocrypha are held in higher estimation than the 
inspired books themselves, not only by the people 
generally, but also by many, who might be expected 
to draw a broad line of demarcation between them. 
Certain it is, that, if the question were to be taken up 
on the continent, and treated as a matter of purely 
historical research, with that iron diligence and critical 
acumen for which the German character is so distin- 
guished, the result would be a complete restoration of 
the sacred books to their pristine state of incontami- 
nation and undisturbed authority. 

That the Apocryphal books are spoken of by some 
of the fathers in language which almost elevates them 
to an equality with the divine oracles, is not denied, 
any more than the fact of their having been read in 
the churches ; just as lessons from them are read at 


this day in the church of England under the common 
rubric : " Tables of lessons of Holy Scripture to be 
" read at morning and evening prayer throughout the 
" year." But that they were regarded as inspired, or 
of the same authority with the canonical Scriptures, 
cannot be proved. Not only are they not recognised 
either in Philo, Josephus, or the New Testament, but 
they were never received into the Jewish canon. They 
are not found in the catalogues of Melito, Origen, 
Hilary, Amphilochius, Gregory Nazianzen, Epiphanius, 
Cyril of Jerusalem, nor in the Synopsis of Athanasius. 
On the contrary, such of these fathers as mention them, 
state explicitly, that they are not canonical, as do also 
Chrysostom, Eusebius, Rufinus, and many others, quoted 
by Bishop Cosin in his valuable work on the Canon. 
Neither Origen, Hesychius, nor Lucian, took the least 
notice of them in their critical revisions of the text of 
the Septuagint. Augustine is the only writer in the 
first four centuries, who, in his work De Doctrina 
Christiana, included them among the canonical Scrip- 
tures ; but the statement which he made in that work 
he afterwards abandoned, as may be seen in his Retrac- 
tations. Many other witnesses might be cited from 
about the same period, and from each of the succeeding 
centuries down to that of the Reformation ; but the 
most important testimony of all is that borne by Jerome, 
who, as we have already noticed, was decidedly the 
best skilled of all the fathers in matters connected with 
Biblical literature. Not only did this scholar reside 
successively at Rome, Constantinople, and Bethlehem, 
but he travelled through Italy, Gaul, Greece, Palestine, 
-^o7Ptj ^^^ other countries, and corresponded with 


many of the most eminent men of his day, from whom 
he enjoyed the most favourable opportunities of ascer- 
taining the light in which the subject was viewed by 
the different churches of Christendom. In numerous 
passages of his works he refers to the Apocryphal 
books, which he expressly designates by this name on 
account of their not being in the canon. In his pro- 
logues and commentaries he more particularly states 
his opinion in reference to them, speaks of many of 
them as fables, and repeatedly appeals to the fact of 
their never having been received by the Jews. And 
that no doubt whatever might remain respecting the 
nullity of their claims to rank with those books which 
were recognised as divine, and that the latter might 
receive no injuiy from their being circulated along 
with them in the Latin version, he wrote his Prologus 
Galeatus, or Helmeted Preface, which he prefixed to 
his translation of the books of Samuel and Kings. In 
this Prologue, which he placed in the front of his 
translation, to perform the part of a sentinel in guard- 
ing the sacred enclosure, he enumerates and gives the 
names of the books in the Hebrew canon, which are 
perfectly identical with those now received by us. 
He then adds : " This Prologue to the Scriptures may 
" properly serve as a guardian Introduction to all the 
" books, which I have translated from the Hebrew 
" into Latin, that we may know, that whatever is 
" not included in the enumeration here made 
" is to be placed among the Apocrypha. There- 
" fore Wisdom, which is commonly ascribed to Solomon, 
" and the book of Jesus the Son of Sirach, and Judith, 
" and Tobit and the Shepherd, are not in the 


" CANON." ^ So express, pointed, and specific is this 
testimony, that, if no other evidence were adducible, 
it must be regarded as sufficient of itself definitively 
to settle the dispute ; and such, in fact, is the judgment 
given respecting it by Cardinal Cajetan, the celebrated 
Romanist : " Adopting," he says, " the rule laid down 
" by Jerome, we shall not err in our discrimination of 
" the canonical books. We hold those to be canonical, 
" which he declares to be canonical, and those which 
" he separated from such as were canonical, we hold 
" to be excluded. — Indeed the whole Latin church is 
" greatly indebted to this blessed father for severing 
" the canonical from the uncanonical books, and thus 
" freeing us from the reproach of the Jews, who might 
" charge us with forging books or parts of books, which 
" never belonged to their ancient canon." After such 
declarations, any appeals to the loose and doubtful 
decisions of councils are altogether nugatory. 

"With respect to the New Testament Canon, one very 
important feature presents itself at the very commence- 
ment of our inquiry, by which it is distinguished from 
that of the Old — its freedom from Apocryphal inter- 
polations and additions. This immunity is absolute,^ 
if we except two epistles in the Armenian Bible, one 
of which professes to be from the Corinthians to the 
Apostle Paul, and the other, an Epistle of Paul to the 
Corinthians. The antiquity of the latter document 
cannot be doubted, since it is expressly quoted by 

(1) See above, p. 409. 

(2) The above statement is not to be extended to various readings, but is 
meant to apply to whole books . 


St. Gregory the Illuminator in one of his sermons in 
the third century ; but neither of them is mentioned 
by any Greek or Latin writer, and they evidently 
belong to the numerous class of pseudo-epigraphical 
compositions which made their appearance in the early 
age of the Christian church. The spurious Gospels, 
Acts, Epistles, Preachings, and Revelations, which 
circulated to a considerable extent in the second and 
third centuries, bore such manifest marks of forgery, 
that though they had the names of the apostles and 
other disciples of Christ affixed to them, they ^vere 
never able to compete with the canonical Scriptures, 
and very soon fell into universal disrepute. 

The canon itself must have been gradual in its for- 
mation, and at first more or less complete according to 
circumstances. That a collection of certain epistles 
of Paul existed about thirty years before the close of 
the first century, appears from the appeal of Peter in 
his second Epistle, (ch. iii. 16,) "as also in all his 
epistles," iv Traaaig toIq eVtoroXalc- The two epistles 
to the Corinthians, the two to the Thessalonians, and 
the two to Timothy, would naturally be joined to each 
other respectively, after the perusal of that, which, in 
each case, was of a more recent date; just as it must 
have been natural for Theophilus to join the Acts of 
the Apostles to the former narrative {rof Trpwror Xdyov), 
which had been transmitted to him by Luke. Of the 
Pauline epistles, those addressed to the churches in 
Asia Minor formed, in all probability, the first collec- 
tion ; a second was likely soon made of those addressed 
to the churches in Europe ; and when to these were 
added his letters to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon, all 


the writings which bore his signature would be com- 
bined together. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and 
John, and the Epistles of James and Jude, the first of 
Peter and the first of John, not being directed to any 
particular churches or individuals, but more or less 
generally to the Christians of Jewish or Greek extrac- 
tion, or to all of them in common, were no doubt 
rapidly and extensively circulated ; and copies being 
taken both for the use of private persons and of dif- 
ferent Christian communities, they must, along with 
the other inspired writings already specified, have been 
formed into a general collection at a very early period. 
To these were added the writings of Luke, the Epistle 
to the Hebrews, the second of Peter, the second and 
third of John, and the Apocalypse, as soon as they 
became generally known, and it was ascertained, that 
they were inspired productions. 

At what time, and by what means, the New Testa- 
ment Canon was completed, it is impossible definitively 
to determine. That a diversity of opinion obtained for 
a time in reference to some of the books now comprised 
in it, appears from the statement of Eusebius, who, in 
his classification of the writings of the New Testament,* 
divides them into the oiioXoyov^eva, or such as had 
been universally received, and the uj/rtXeyo^utj/a, the 
genuineness of which had by some been called in 
question, but yet was acknowledged by most. It is 
further confirmed by the fact, that the Peshito Syriac 
version, which there is reason to believe was made 
very near, if not in the apostolical age, contains only 
three out of the seven Catholic Epistles, and omits tlie 

(1) Hist. Eccles. lib. iii. cap. 25. 


Apocalypse. The very circumstance, however, that 
the claims of some of the books were, in some quarters, 
disputed, proves the deep interest which was felt in 
settling what should and what should not be received 
as the genuine word of God ; and the speedy withdraw- 
ment of all opposition to the avrikiyofXEva, in an age, 
when the subject not only engaged the attention, and 
kept alive the vigilance of the orthodox, but was not 
unobserved either by the heretics, or by the learned 
pagan writers who attacked Christianity, satisfactorily 
shews, that when they were universally admitted into 
the canon, it was in consequence of sufficient evidence 
having been produced in support of their divine 

The division of the canonical books of the New Tes- 
tament into two classes may be traced to a very early 
date. The former of the two was called to evayyeXiov, 
The Gospel, and contained the four Gospels ; and the 
latter o a7rdo--oXoc, TheAjyostle, containing the Acts, the 
Apostolic Epistles, and the Apocalypse. The most 
ancient writer who adverts to any such division is 
Ignatius. The four Gospels are distinctly recognised 
as possessing divine authority by Irenceus, Clement of 
Alexandria, and Tertullian ; and towards the close of 
the second century, a Harmony of them was composed 
by Tatian, to which, in reference to their number, he 
gave the title of Am reaaapm'. A similar Harmony 
was written by Ammonius early in the third century ; 
which proves, that the gospels, which we now possess, 
and these only, existed at that time in the canon. That 
the Apostle John had the other three before him, when 
he composed his, is justly regarded as highly probable, 


from tlie circumstances, that it omits what they have 
detailed, and appears designed to be supplementary to 
them : but the tradition, mentioned by Eusebius,^ that 
this evangelist was requested before his death to give 
his sanction to the three first gospels, and that he 
actually affixed to them the seal of inspiration, is too 
vague {(jiaai) to warrant our laying any stress upon it. 
That not only the gospels, but also the epistles were 
collected so as, with the gospels, to form one body of 
sacred writings as early as the days of Tertullian, is 
evident from his calling it an Instrument, or rather he 
says, a Testament, which designations he gives to it 
and the Old Testament in common.^ He further gives 
to it the name of the New Testament, and places it 
upon a level in point of authority with the Old. " If 
"I do not," he says, "relieve this point from the 
" doubts which may attach to it in the ancient Scrip- 
" tures, I will take the proof of our interpretation de 
" Novo Testamento." ^ The manner too in which he 
speaks of it, when adverting to the Pastor of Hermas, 
proves the same thing. " But I would concede the 
" point to you if the writing of the Shepherd — deserved 
" to be placed in the Divine Instrument^ if it were not 
" considered as apocryphal and spurious by every 
" assembly of your own churches." ^ If now we in- 
quire, of what books did this New Testament consist, 
to which Tertullian appeals, which he ranks with the 
ancient records of inspiration, and which he expressly 
declares to be the word of God — the reply must natu- 
rally be : those books, which are quoted by him as such 

(1) Hist. Eccles. lib. iii. cap. 24. (2) Adv. Marcion. lib. iv. cap. 1. 

(3) Adv. Praxeam, cap. 10. (4) De Pudicitia, cap. 10. 


in his writings, or by other credible witnesses in or 
before his time. Now though he no where professedly 
gives a catalogue of them, he has perhaps more nume- 
rous and larger quotations from them, than are to be 
found of all the works of Cicero in the writers of all 
characters for several ages.^ The four gospels ; the 
Acts of the Apostles ; the thirteen Pauline Epistles ; 
that of James, probably ; the first of Peter ; the first 
of John ; that of Jude ; and the book of Revelation ; 
are all recognised by him as inspired writings. As his 
not quoting the second of Peter and the second and 
third of John may have been owing to his not having 
had any occasion to refer to them, it would be unrea- 
sonable to construe his silence into an argument against 
them. The only book mentioned by Tertullian, which 
he quotes as not apostolic, is the Epistle to the Hebrews, 
but which he nevertheless ascribes to Barnabas, the 
divinely-accredited fellow-labourer of Paul. Though 
not acknowledged as canonical by the Latin church in 
bis time, (for what reason cannot be ascertained) this 
epistle was received by the Greek, the Syrian, and 
Alexandrian churches ; and its existence in the ancient 
Latin version, as well as the use made of it by Clement 
of Rome, evinces that it had also been formerly re- 
ceived in the West. 

The testimony of Tertullian, which is fully borne 
out by that of Origen, Eusebius, Athanasius, Epipha- 
nius, Jerome, and other fathers, is the more important 
in consideration of his near proximity to the apostolic 
age, his extensive erudition, and his celebrity among 
the ancients. With what force must the appeal have 

(1) Lardner's Credibility, vol. ii. p. 306, 8vo. 1829. 


come at that early period from his pen : " Well, if you 
" be willing to exercise your curiosity profitably in 
" the business of your salvation, visit the apostolical 
" churches, in which the very chairs of the apostles 
"still preside; in which their genuine epistles^ are 
" recited, sounding forth the voice and representing 
" the countenance of each one of them. Is Achaia 
" near you ? You have Corinth. If you are not far 
" from Macedonia, you have Philippi, you have Thes- 
" salonica. If you can go to Asia, you have Ephesus. 
" But if you are near to Italy, you have Rome, from 
" whence we also may be easily satisfied." " 

From the investigations which have been instituted 
respecting the completion of the New Testament Canon, 
it is certain, that it cannot be attributed to any legis- 
lative enactment, to any decrees of councils, or to any 
public authority whatever. It was the simple result 
of evidence elicited by a growing acquaintance with 
the channels through which the different books might 
be traced to an inspired source. It was entirely de- 
pendent on testimony ; so that afterwards, when a 
decree was issued by the council of Laodicea in the 
year 363, it was more a declaratory act, attesting the 
universal prevalence of such testimony, than an autho- 
ritative mandate, designed, as such, to be binding on 

(1) Ips<B authenticce litem : a much contested passage, but which seems 
to convey the idea expressed in the text, rather than that of the original 
documents, for which Rigaliius, Simon, Dodwell, Richardson, Michaelis, and 
others have contended. The construction which we have adopted has the 
sufTrages of Lardner, Schmidt, Hug, and Giiesbach. Bertho!dt_is of opinion 
that letters in the Greek language are meant by authenticce, ttiough he does 
not think that Tertullian had the apostolical autographs in view. Einleit. 
1 Theil. s. 416. 

(2) De Prescript, cap. 36. 


the whole Christian world. The ground of decision 
was the universal suffrage of the Christian church, 
which had been constituted a keeper and witness of 
the sacred oracles, just as the Jewish church had been 
in former times. To her care the deposit was com- 
mitted ; she was the pillar and ground of the truth ; 
and upon each of her members, who became possessed 
of the invaluable treasure, devolved the responsibility 
of guarding and transmitting it unimpaired to others, 
according to his ability, and according to the peculiar 
circumstances in which he was placed. 

It only remains, that we advert to the inspired autho- 
rity of the writings of the Evangelists Mark and Luke. 
That this authority should ever have been called in 
question is principally to be ascribed to the circum- 
stance, that these authors were not of the number of 
the apostles to whom specifically the promise of the 
Holy Spirit was given by our Lord. The authenticity 
and credibility of the books composed by them, have been 
most satisfactorily proved ; but a book may possess all 
requisite evidence of this kind, and yet not be inspired. 
To possess this quality it must either have been the 
result of inspiring influence on the mind of the writer 
himself, or it must have received the sanction of one 
who was the subject of such influence, and who, by 
giving it his official sanction, authorized its publication 
as an accredited document, to be perused by the church 
for the purposes of divine instruction. Now it is at 
once conceded, that in none of the three books written 
by Mark and Luke is any claim to inspiration advanced. 
That its possession, however, by the latter evangelist, 


is necessarily excluded by the statement made in his 
introduction, can only be consistently maintained by 
those whose idea of the nature of inspiration does not 
extend beyond that of direct and immediate communi- 
cation. Even the phrase e^o^e K^fxol, " It seemed good 
to me also," which has been so frequently appealed to, 
cannot fairly be construed to favour such exclusion ; 
since we find Luke employing similar phraseology, 
(Acts XV. 25,) in reference to the decree of the assem- 
bly at Jerusalem, though, as we learn from ver. 28, it 
was enacted by direction of the Holy Ghost. As the 
exercise of judgment and argumentation in the one 
case did not supersede the guidance of the promised 
Instructor, so the diligence of the evangelist in tracing, 
with the utmost accuracy, every thing connected with 
the history of our Lord, was in no way incompatible 
with his being the subject of supernatural influence. 

With respect to Mark, we may observe, that he was, 
in all probability, the same who is more commonly 
called John Mark, who accompanied Paul and Bar- 
nabas, and was by the apostle authoritatively com- 
mended to the church at Colosse, and to Timothy. 
He even recognises him in the high character of a 
fellow-labourer. That he also laboured some time in 
conjunction with Peter, to whom he was doubtless 
introduced at his mother's house in Jerusalem, may be 
inferred from what that apostle says of him in his 
First Epistle, v. 13, and from the unanimous voice of 
antiquity, which connects them most intimately toge- 
ther. And, indeed, the same unanimity prevails in 
regard to its testimony, that Mark wrote his gospel 
not only with the privity, but with the inspired sane- 


tioa of Peter. The Fathers differ as to the circum- 
stances of its composition, but they perfectly agree 
respecting the fact itself. Nor is there wanting inter- 
nal evidence to prove, that Peter was concerned in its 
publication. He is less frequently mentioned in this 
gospel than in the others. What is related of him 
renders him less conspicuous than the statements do, 
which are made by the other evangelists, except in the 
cases of his Aveaknesses and fall, which are more fully 
exposed to view, while the things which redound to 
his honour are either slightly touched or wholly 

That Luke was the companion of Paul is beyond all 
dispute ; that he resided with him upwards of two 
years at Jerusalem appears from Acts xxi.17 ; xxiv. 27; 
and he must have been with him for a still longer 
period at Rome, (Coloss. iv. 14 ; Philem. 24 ; 2 Tim. 
iv. 11.) He clearly includes himself along with the 
apostle and Timothy in the supernatural intimation 
which was given to them to preach the gospel in 
Macedonia, (Acts xvi. 10 ;) from which we may war- 
rantably conclude, that he was under the special direc- 
tion of the Holy Spirit.^ In 1 Tim. v. 18, Paul quotes 
a declaration made by our Lord, verbally as it stands 
in the Gospel of Luke, but differently from the wording 
of Matthew, in whose gospel it also occurs ; and intro- 
duces the quotation in such a way as to shew, that he 
places the book from which it was taken upon a level 
with the Pentateuch. " For the Scripture saith : 

(1) Some would deduce a proof of the inspiration of Luke from the state- 
ment made by Paul, (2 Cor. viii. 18,) respecting " the brother whose praise in 
the gospel is throughout all the churches ;" but the foundation is too preca- 
rious to admit of any solid argument being built upon it. 


*' Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the 
" corn ; and [it also saith] the labourer is worthy of 
" his hire, /xtcrSde." 

From the intimate connection which subsisted be- 
tween both these evangelists and the apostles of* our 
Lord, and from the fact that the first teachers of 
Christianity, among whom they are unquestionably to 
be reckoned, were endowed with the miraculous gifts 
of the Holy Spirit, it may reasonably be concluded 
that they were qualified to record every point of the 
history of our Lord, and the early planting of the 
Christian church, which Infinite Wisdom deemed 
essential to her edification at the time, and in all future 

Both of these gospels and the Acts were received by 
the first Christians, who had the best opportunities of 
ascertaining the persons by whom they were written ; 
and as they acknowledged no books to be of divine 
authority which they could not satisfactorily trace to 
inspiration, but proved all, and retained only those 
which stood the test, it behoves us to abide by their 
decision, and likewise receive them as divine. That 
they did thus acknowledge them is proved by the 
universal consent of unexceptionable witnesses from 
Papias and Irenaeus downward : no suspicion was ever 
raised respecting the sacredness of their character : no 
doubt was ever entertained of their claims being tan- 
tamount to those conceded to the writings of the 

The total result of our inquiry into the Canon of 
inspiration is this : That it never consisted of more, or 


other books than those which now compose our Bible ; 
that these books were inserted in the canon as they 
were written, or as it was indubitably proved that they 
were the product of inspiring influence ; that they 
were received as the oracles of God, or Divine Scrip- 
tures, by his church, which he had constituted the 
o-uardian of the truth ; and that they have been trans- 
mitted to us in the original languages, and in numerous 
versions, most of which are independent vouchers for 
the integrity of the sacred volume. 



1 COR. XIII. 8. 

" Wliether there he prophecies, they shall fail ; ivhethtr 
there he tongues, they shall cease; whether there he 
knowledge, it shall 'vanish away^ 

Having reviewed the various methods, which God 
was pleased to employ in affording positive revelations 
of his will to mankind, and shewn, that the sacred 
Scriptures now in our possession consist of such por- 
tions of these revelations, and other matters connected 
with them, as he chose should be transmitted for the 
infallible instruction and guidance of future ages, it 
remains that we inquire into the withdrawment of 
inspiring influence ; and that we deduce a few practical 
inferences in improvement of the whole subject. 

That inspiration should cease, when it had answered 
the purposes for which it was afforded, is a conclusion 
than which none can be more natural, because nothing 
is more in accordance with the dictates of wisdom in 
reference to any agencies that may be called into 
operation, or more in harmony with the whole tenor 


of the Divine administration. That it actually did 
cease, is a fact which no one will deny who has con- 
sulted the annals of ecclesiastical history. It is reluc- 
tantly admitted, even by those who charge the church 
with guilt in having lost it, and who advocate not 
only the possibility but the certainty of its restoration 
in these latter days. That its cessation was anticipated, 
as an event that would take place, is clearly taught in 
the words we have just read. The object of the 
apostle, in the chapter from which they are taken, is 
to fix the attention of the Corinthian church on the 
intrinsic superiority of Christian love to all the mira- 
culous gifts which he had enumerated, and even to the 
graces of faith and hope, though these are essential to 
salvation. "While . he would not repress the proper 
exercise of those extraordinary endowments, but, on 
the contrary, urges to the zealous improvement of 
them, he shews that there is a principle of incom- 
parably greater value, (k-o0' v7rep(3oXtiv ohov,) than the 
highest imaginable faculty of a purely miraculous 
character; — a principle, without the possession of 
which the most splendid gifts would be productive of 
no real personal benefit. " Though I speak with the 
" tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, 
" I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 
" And though I have the gift of prophecy, and under- 
" stand all mysteries and all knowledge; and though 
" I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, 
" and have not love, I am nothing." (Ver. 1, 2.) He 
then describes, with inimitable beauty and effect, the 
nature and characteristics of this love; and dwells 
especially on the circumstance of its 2)erennitf/, with 


which he contrasts the temiwrary nature of the extra- 
ordinary supernatural endowments of prophecy, tongues, 
and knowledge. 

That it is endowments of this description which the 
apostle has in view, and not ordinary teaching, the 
common use of language, or knowledge simply con- 
sidered, is proved by the subject-matter of his discourse, 
and the object at which he aims. The terms are 
obviously to be taken in the same sense in which he 
employs them in the preceding context. The question, 
however, may be raised : To what period is the cessa- 
tion of miraculous influence here anticipated to be 
referred? Was it first to take place at the second 
coming of Christ, as Billroth and the modern Millena- 
rians maintain ? Or, was it to happen when the church 
had reached a state of maturity — in other words, w^hen 
the Christian religion had been fully established by the 
ministry of the apostles, and the apostolic men on whom 
it had been conferred ? 

In order to make good the former of these positions, 
it must be proved, that it was the definite purpose of 
Jehovah, that the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit 
were to be permanent in the church, during the whole 
of the new dispensation. But no proof of any such 
purpose can be alleged either from the Old or the New 
Testament. In the prediction of the gift of tongues, 
Is. xxviii. 11, which the apostle quotes, 1 Cor. xiv. 21, 
no intimation is given respecting the period of its con- 
tinuance. It may be said, indeed, that, as it is expressly 
stated in the latter passage to be for the conviction of 
unbelievers, it must be supposed to continue as long as 
there are any unbelievers to be convinced. But it is 


only necessary to consider the circumstances under 
which the apostle wrote, in order to perceive, that the 
conviction to be effected by the gift, had respect to the 
divine commission of the speakers, in the absence of all 
other criteria. It was designed to prove, at the 
moment, the celestial origin of the Christian faith to 
those foreigners under whose notice it was brought. 
It was a supernatural attestation to a new religion, 
which was not required after the general diffusion of 
Christian truth, or the complete exhibition of its 
evidences, when men of all nations having become 
converts, were qualified, without miraculous aid, to 
preach in the different languages which were spoken 
in them. Nor can the perpetuity of the endowments 
in question be proved from the prophecy, «Toelii. 28, 29, 
in which some of them are specifically mentioned. 
That prophecy, we are assured, on inspired authority, 
received its fulfilment on the day of Pentecost, when 
the remarkable effusion of the extraordinary influences 
of the Holy Spirit was experienced by the assembled 
disciples, and they became instantaneously qualified to 
give intelligent utterance to the wonderful works of 
God, in the languages of the numerous foreigners then 
at Jerusalem. And we have indubitable evidence that 
it continued to be extensively fulfilled in the experience 
of the primitive church. But it contains no intimation 
that the gifts were to be permanent. The universal 
term all in the phrase "all flesh" must necessarily be 
taken in a restricted sense, whatever construction be 
put upon the passage ; and, from the mention made 
immediately after of sons and daughters, old men and 
young, servants and handmaids, it clearly appears to 


have been designed to express persons of both sexes, 
and of every age, rank, and condition of life. It has 
been maintained, that the duration of these gifts is dis- 
tinctly implied in our Lord's promise, (Mark xvi. 17,) 
" And these signs shall follow them that believe ; In 
" my name shall they cast out devils ; they shall speak 
with new tongues," — but, that believing is, in this 
verse, to be taken in the sense of exercising the faith 
of miracles, is evident both from the nature of the 
subject to which it refers, and from the fact, that, even 
in the apostolic times, the endowments here promised 
were not extended to all who simply believed the gospel. 
In writing to the Corinthians, Paul asks : " Are all 
" workers of miracles ? Have all the gifts of healing ? 
" Do ALL speak with tongues?" (1 Cor. xii. 28.) And 
that they were not all miraculously endowed, is not 
charged to their want of faith, but to the sovereign 
appointment of God, who hath set in his church " first 
" apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after 
" that miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, govern- 
" ments, diversities of tongues." When it is said, that 
'*' the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal," 
and that he " divideth to evei^y man severally as he 
" will," the phrase is not to be understood as compre- 
hending all the members of the body of Christ, but is 
to be restricted to the gifted persons, whose offices are 
specified in the immediate connection : just as the 
words, (ch. iii. 8,) ^^ Every man shall receive his own 
" reward according to his own labour," are restricted 
by the connection to every one who labours in preach- 
ing the gospel. 
The theory of the perpetual continuance of miraculous 


agency is directly opposed to the reasoning of the 
apostle in this thirteenth chapter. On no allowed prin- 
ciple of exegesis can it be maintained, that, when he 
declares, (ver. 8,) that prophecies are to fail and tongues 
to cease, his language is to be taken in an absolute 
sense ; but that, when he adds, that knowledge is like- 
wise to vanish away, the last proposition is to be taken 
limitedly, as only referring to the state, kind, or degree 
of our knowledge in the present world. The language 
is just as positive and absolute in this case as it is in 
the two preceding. According to the doctrine laid 
down by the apostle, -yvwffig, the knowledge he speaks 
of, is as completely to pass away, or come to an end, as 
prophecy and tongues. But it would be the height of 
absurdity for a moment to imagine that any part of true 
saving knowledge will ever perish. What we possess 
now forms the basis of that which will be acquired, or 
it may be regarded as the outline, which will be filled 
up in the eternal world. It is just and accurate, so far 
as it extends, and must, like all truth, be imperishable. 
The same view of the subject is powerfully supported 
by the contrast in which the apostle places the perpe- 
tuity of faith, hope, and charity, with the transitory 
character of these extraordinary gifts. The 8th and 
1 3th verses are evidently most closely connected in the 
argumentation. All that intervenes is merely illustra- 
tive of the statements made in the former of these 
verses. "But now," rvrl ^e, in the present state, 
" abideth faith, hope, love, these three ; but the greatest 
" of these is love." There seems even to be a pecu- 
liarity of emphasis attaching to the terms "these 
three." The writer had mentioned three gifts, as a 


specimen of a particular class, which were to cease : he 
here specifies three, which are to be permanent in the 
church ; and concludes with a further eulogium on 
Christian love, which, in the heavenly state, w^ll attain 
to its highest exercise, when faith shall be exchanged 
for vision, and hope converted into eternal fruition. 
And what was thus anticipated by an inspired apostle 
has been undeniably realized. While these Christian 
graces have been permanently in exercise in all suc- 
ceeding ages, and still continue to be exercised by all 
who have received the love of the truth, inspiration, 
with all its concomitant gifts, disappeared at a very 
early period, and has never, in any instance, been 

It is a question which has been much agitated, and 
one of the most difficult in the department of church 
history : At what time did these miraculous gifts cease 
in the church? According to the Roman Catholics 
they never ceased, but have continued in a clear succes- 
sion to the present day. They allege in proof, the 
testimonies of the numerous writers who have flourished 
in the several ages of the church since the times of the 
apostles, and the fact, that such testimonies were be- 
lieved without contradiction down to the period of the 
Reformation : as also the miraculous powers which are 
still professedly possessed by that church, and which it 
is maintained she exercises on proper occasions, in 
justification of her apostolic claims, and to the confu- 
sion of heretics and unbelievers. Gibbon, on the other 
hand, argues from the silence of church history on the 
subject of their cessation, an event, he conceives, which, 
from its extraordinary character, must have excited 


universal attention, that they never existed, and that 
all claims to them in any age are equally unfounded. 
Protestants, in general, maintain that they were con- 
tinued through the three first centuries, and that they 
ceased about the time when Christianity came to be 
established by the civil power ; but this position, how- 
ever plausible it may appear to some, is unsupported 
by other than merely hypothetical proof. We find 
precisely the same evidence of miracles having been 
wrought in the fourth and fifth, or any of the succeed- 
ing centuries, that we have of their having been per- 
formed in the third. Numerous references are made 
to them by the Fathers, and by ecclesiastical historians ; 
and so far are they from ceasing when we arrive at the 
beginning of the fourth age of the church, that they rather 
accumulate upon us, and continue still to increase in 
number as we proceed down the stream of time. In 
fact, if we once admit the reality of those miracles said 
to have been wrought in the time of Chrysostom, Basil, 
and others, we cannot, with any degree of consistency, 
reject the evidence by Avhich the existence of similar 
miracles in after-ages is attested. 

Strongly convinced of the spuriousness of these pre- 
tended miracles, Dr. Conyers Middleton wrote a volume^ 
to prove, that there is no sufficient reason to believe 
that any such powers were continued in the church, 
subsequent to the days of the apostles. It must be 
admitted that this work contains unanswerable argu- 
ments against the testimonies adduced from the Fathers 

(1) A Free Inquiry into the Miraculous Powers, which are supposed to have 
subsisted in the Christian Church, from the earliest Ages through several 
successive Centuries. London, 1749, 4to. 


in support of miraculous interpositions: but still the 
author does not succeed in fixing the exact time when 
real miracles ceased, and false or pretended miracles 
assumed their place. The questions remain to be 
solved : Did thej cease in each particular country, on 
the death of the apostle who laboured in that country ? 
Or, did they continue to be universally exercised in the 
church till the death of John, who is generally supposed 
to have lived the longest of any of the apostles ? It 
has already been noticed, that the gifts were conferred 
by the apostles upon others. Is there not reason to 
suppose, that such persons retained and exercised these 
supernatural gifts during their lifetime ; and, that 
many of them, surviving the apostles at least half a 
century, perpetuated them in the church till the latter 
half of the second century, when the last individual, on 
whom any of the apostles had laid his hands, expired, 
and with him the power of working miracles became 
extinct? On this principle, they must gradually have 
ceased, just as the persons were gradually removed, 
who had been privileged to perform them ; which at 
once obviates the objection of Gibbon, drawn from the 
absence of any excitement of wonder at the event. 

By the period referred to, the great ends for which 
the gift had been conferred, had been attained. The 
authority of the apostles had been completely estab- 
lished; the different churches that had been planted 
by them, had been confirmed in the faith of the gospel ; 
and the collection of the books of the New Testament 
into one whole, presented such a complete body of 
evidence in favour of Christianity as superseded the 


necessity of any further visible interpositions, on the 
part of its Divine author, in attestation of its truth. 

It has been remarked by Bishop Kaye,^ that, in the 
language of the Fathers who lived in the middle and 
end of the second century, when speaking on this 
subject, there is something which betrays, if not a con- 
viction, at least a suspicion, that the power of working 
miracles was withdrawn, combined with an anxiety to 
keep up a belief of its continuance in the church. 
They affirm, in general, that miracles were performed, 
but rarely venture to produce an instance of a particular 
miracle. Of all the miraculous gifts that were imparted 
in the primitive age, none was considered of greater 
importance, or more necessary for the propagation of 
the gospel, than the gift of tongues ; and from such 
necessity, it has been inferred that this endowment 
certainly must have continued long after the days of 
the apostles : but it deserves particular notice, that the 
only reference made to it in all the documents of an- 
tiquity is in the work of Irenoeus against the heretics, 
in which he asserts : " We hear of many in the church 
imbued with prophetic gifts, speaking with all kinds 
of tongues," ^ &c. And, though that Father was called 
to labour for the spread of the gospel among the pagan 
Celts, and may be supposed to have required the gift 
as much as any, yet he expressly states, that " it was 
not the least part of his trouble, that he was forced to 
learn the language of the country, a rude and barbarous 
dialect, before he could effect any good among them.'^ 
That this and other miraculous gifts had entirely ceased 

(1) Ecclesiast. Hist, of the Second and Third Centuries, p. 101, 2d ed. 

(2) Adver. Haeres. lib. v. cap. 4. (3) Midcileton, ut sup. p. 119. 


in the days of Augustine and Chrysostom, is evident 
from many parts of their writings. The former on the 
Gospel of John expresses himself to this effect : " In 
" the primitive times, the Holy Spirit fell upon be- 
" lievers, and they spoke in tongues which they had 
" not learnt, as the Spirit gave them utterance. These 
" were signs suitable to the time. For it was right, 
" that the Holy Spirit should be thus borne witness 
" of in all tongues, because the gospel of God was about 
" to travel through all tongues throughout the whole 
" world. That testimony having been given, it jiassed 
" away." ^ Again : " Let no one, therefore, brethren, 
" say, that, because our Lord Jesus Christ does not do 
" these things (i. e. miracles) 7ion\ therefore he prefers 
" the former times of the church to the present. For 
" there is a passage, in which the same Lord sets those 
" who do not see, and yet believe, before those who 
" believe, because they see." ^ Of the testimonies 
borne by Chrysostom, it is sufficient to allege the fol- 
lowing simple but most explicit declaration : " Of 
" miraculous powers not so much as a single vestige 
*' remains."^ 

It is also a noticeable circumstance, that the church 

(1) " Primis temporibus cadebat super credentes Spiritus Sanctus, et loque- 
bantur linguas quas non dedicerant, quomodo Spiritus dabat eis pronuntiare, 
Si^nia erant tempori opportuna. Oportebat enim ita significari in omnibus 
Unguis Spiritum Sanctum, quia evangelium Dei per omnes linguas cursurum 
erat toto orbe terrarum. Significatum est illud et transiit."— In Evan. Johan. 
c, 4. Tract, vi. § 10. 

(2) " Memo itaque, fratres, dicat non facere ista (miracula) modo Dominum 
nostrum Jesum Christum et proper hoc prsesentibus Ecclesiae temporibus 
priora praeponere. Quodam quippe loco idem Dominus videntibus et ideo 
credentibus praeponit eos qui non vidit et credunt."— Serw. 88. de verb. Evan. 
Matt. XX. § 2. 

(3; T?,9 afi/a/iew? txeiVris ovdd jx""? i/7ro/\e\e<7rTO(.— De Sacerd. lib. iv. 


of Rome, which boasts so much of the power of working 
miracles, and whose history abounds with accounts of 
the pretended exertion of this power, has never been 
able to produce a single instance, in which the gift of 
tongues has been exercised. If ever there was an 
occasion, in any respect upon a parallel with any in 
the primitive times, which called for the exercise of 
such a gift, or an individual worthy to have so distin- 
guished an honour put upon him, the missions to the 
East Indies and China furnished that occasion; and 
Francis Xavier, than whom there never lived a more 
devoted missionary, was that individual. But what 
does that "apostle of the Indies" say respecting his 
case? Like Irenaeus he confesses, that, through his 
ignorance of the languages of those nations, he found 
himself incapable of doing any service to the Christian 
cause, and was but little better than a mute statue 
among them, till he could acquire some competent 
knowledge of their tongues ; for which purpose, he 
was obliged to act the boy again, and apply himself to 
the task of learning the rudiments. 

The causes of the cessation of extraordinary inspiiing 
influence are obvious. As it was imparted with a 
view to the establishment of Christianity, when that 
event took place it ceased. The apostles alone being 
endowed with the " word of wisdom," were employed 
during their lifetime, as the instruments of revealing 
to mankind the grand doctrines of the economy of 
grace, and ordaining those laws, which were to be of 
binding obligation in all future ages ; and when they 
had executed their task by developing the whole counsel 
of God, they and the gift of inspiration, in this high 


sense of the term, were at once withdrawn. The 
results of its impartation having been deposited in their 
writings, it was no longer required. Since some years, 
however, elapsed before these writings were collected, 
so as to furnish the church with one complete body of 
New Testament truth, and a standard of universal 
appeal on all points of New Testament doctrine and 
practice, it was necessary during the interim, that 
those, who were gifted with the word of knowledge, 
with tongues, and the power of working miracles, 
should continue to exercise these endowments in those 
regions in which an infallible announcement or inter- 
pretation of truths already revealed, had not been 
furnished. Soon after the middle of the second century, 
the inspired volume became, and has ever since been, 
the only infallible source of religious knowledge — the 
only adequate and unerring test of religious truth. ^ 

That pretensions to inspiration should afterwards 
have been advanced, and that such pretensions should 
still be made, cannot be matter of surprise. Both in 
the days of the prophets under the Old Testament, 
and of the apostles under the New, men arose with 
" Thus saith the Lord " upon their lips, though the 
Lord had not spoken : but how specious soever their 
claims, and how extensive soever their success, they 
could present no credentials that would bear to be 
examined by the light of truth ; and sooner or later 
their folly became manifest to all. The church had 
been sufficiently warned under both dispensations 
against false prophets and teachers ; and she had only 

(I) See XotcU. 
G G 


to try them by " the law and the testimony" to ascer- 
tain that they were deceivers." ^ 

Having avowed the conviction, that we have suffi- 
cient ground in Scripture to induce the belief, that it 
was the design of God that all miraculous, or immediate 
supernatural influence should cease when the church 
became furnished with the complete revelation of his 
will; it may not be improper, in this place, to make a 
few remarks on the subject of that Divine influence 
which is continued in the church, and the exertion of 
which is indispensable to salvation. 

That there is a supernatural saving influence distinct 
from that which was miraculous, must appear convinc- 
ingly evident to all who read the Scriptures with any 
degree of discrimination. Besides the unequivocal 
recognition of the Holy Spirit as the author of those 
extraordinary gifts which had for their object the 
revelation, confirmation, and advancement of the truth, 
he has also ascribed to him a divine agency by which 
the work of grace is commenced, carried on, and con- 
summated in the souls of men. He regenerates, renews, 
illuminates, purifies, comforts, and strengthens them. 
These are his saving operations. By mere natural 
efforts, men may acquire a theoretical knowledge of 
the Holy Scriptures ; they may become adepts in 
theological science, and be able clearly to unfold its 
principles to others; but except they experience the 
spiritual power of these principles, they are necessarily 

(1) For an historical sketch of the pretensions M-hicli have been made to 
inspiration subsequent to the apostolic age, see Note X. 


excluded from the perception and enjoyment of true 
happiness. This doctrine our Lord taught Nicodemus 
in terms at once the most explicit and peremptory. 
" Verily, verily, I say unto thee. Except a man be born 
" again — of water and of the Spirit — he cannot enter 
" into the kingdom of God." (John iii. 3, o.) That 
kingdom consists not in word, but in power. There 
is a mighty power — an exceeding greatness of power, 
exerted on those who believe — a power, which is spoken 
of as the standard whereby we are to conceive of 
Omnipotence itself. Hence the change which it effects 
is called a new creation, a new birth, a resurrection 
from death. (Eph. i. 19, 20 ; iii. 20, 21 ; 2 Cor. v. 17; 
John iii. 3 ; v. 21 ; Eph. ii. 2.) From these, and 
parallel passages of Scripture, it is evident that a real, 
efficient Divine influence operates on the minds of all 
the saved — an influence which is rendered indispen- 
sable by the total depravity of human nature, and is 
vouchsafed solely in the way of mercy and favour 
through the mediation of our Redeemer. In no part 
of the divine word, however, is this influence repre- 
sented as operating, or taking effect, except in connec- 
tion with the employment of means. It is never spoken 
of as a universal power, emanating from the Deity, 
diffused over the whole human family, and dependent 
for its efliciency on the susceptibility or insusceptibility 
of its supposed recipients. It is nowhere described as 
a divine principle separately and universally, but, in 
most instances, unsuccessfully contending with the 
innate corruption of the human heart. On the con- 
trary, it is uniformly represented as specially, definitely. 


and successfully put forth, in connection with the 
instrumentality of divine truth, for the purpose of 
infallibly securing the salvation of those on whom the 
Lord willeth to have mercy. Are they regenerated ? 
" Of his own will he begets them witli the rcord of 
truth.'' (James i. 18.) Are they justified? It is by 
faith in the blood of his Son. (Rom. v. 1, 9.) Are they 
sanctified ? It is through the word of God, which is 
truth. (John xvii. 17, 19.) Are they chosen to salva- 
tion? It is through sanctification of the Spirit and 
belief of the truth. (2 Thess. ii. 13.) Are they kept 
unto salvation ? It is by the power of God through 
faith. (1 Pet. i. 5.) Now, with respect to this faith, 
which is indispensable to salvation, the inspired conclu- 
sion applies to it in all instances without exception : 
" So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the 
word of God'' — that word, which, according to the 
apostolic doctrine, requires to be preached, or outwardly 
announced, before it can be believed. (Rom. x. 14 — 17.) 
So constantly do the Scriptures insist on the im- 
portance of truth, and the necessity of its external 
presentation to the mind — and so powerful are the 
effects ascribed to it, when received by faith, that many 
have been induced to merge the influence of the Holy 
Spirit entirely in moral suasion, or the operation of 
those cogent motives which the word of God abun- 
dantly supplies. But while we readily admit that the 
word does supply such motives, and that the arguments 
and inducements which it contains are, in themselves, 
calculated to persuade and impel to holy action, and 
leave those utterly inexcusable who resist them, we 


contend, that, without a Divine operation upon the 
heart at the time the external proposal of the truth is 
made, no saving impressions will be produced. The 
native enmity of man against his Maker not only ren- 
ders him indisposed to attend to spiritual things, but 
leads him, in the degree in which they are faithfully 
presented, positively to hate and reject them. Hence 
the necessity of a distinct, yet concurring and efficient 
influence — the exertion of supernatural power upon 
the mind, by which the barriers to the entrance of the 
truth are broken down, and the principle of resistance 
is destroyed, which naturally interposes between the 
mental faculties and the external instrumentality which 
God is pleased to employ in conversion. Such is un- 
deniably the light in which the subject is presented to 
our view in the holy Scriptures. Thus, notwithstand- 
ing the deep conviction which David possessed of the 
inherent excellence and force of divine truth, he felt it 
necessary to pray : " 0])en thou mine eyes, that I may 
behold wondrous things out of thy law." (Ps. cxix. 18.) 
He knew that it was only as the veil was removed, 
which naturally hung before his understanding, that 
the word of God could enter it in the way of true 
spiritual illumination. The case of Lydia is also fully 
in point : " Whose heart the Lord opened, that she 
attended to the things which were spoken of Paul." 
The moral inducements were presented by the apostle; 
but her attention to them, so as to yield to their force, 
and give herself up to their influence, is expressly 
ascribed to a direct Divine operation. "We are likewise 
taught by Peter, that the submission of believers to the 


doctrine of Christ is not to be attributed to that doctrine 
otherwise than instrumentally : the efficient cause of 
such submission he unequivocally states to be the 
influence of the Holy Spirit : " Seeing ye have purified 
yourselves in obeying the truth, through the Spii^it, 
unto unfeigned love of the brethren:" &c. (1 Pet. i.22.) 
In short, while the Scriptures invariably insist on the 
use of external means, they as invariably insist on the 
necessity of Divine influence in order to give them 

It now remains that ^ve close the present course of 
Lectures with a few practical observations, suggested 
by the whole subject which has come under our 

In the first place : If the Bible is indeed, what it has 
been proved to be, the Book of God, containing an 
express supernatural revelation of his will on subjects 
of the highest importance to mankind, then its Blessed 
Author must be entitled to adoring gratitude from all 
upon whom the boon is conferred. It is only necessary 
for us seriously to reflect on our natural condition as 
rational and accountable, yet fallen, guilty, and perish- 
ing creatures, in order to be convinced, that a source, 
which lets in upon our dreary circumstances a flood of 
Divine light, full, glorious, and satisfying — not only 
claims to be most highly appreciated, but to have its 
appreciation accompanied by feelings of the most lively 
thankfulness towards the God of all grace. How dark 
the prospects of those who are destitute of this " light 
of the Lord ! " How unenviable the state of those who 
reject it, and walk in the light of their own fire, and 


in the sparks of their own kindling ! On the other 
hand, how blessed the people that know the joyful 
sound ! They walk in the light of the Divine counte- 
nance. In the name of the Lord they rejoice all the 
day, and in his righteousness they are exalted. His 
word is a lamp unto their feet, and a light unto their 
path, amidst all the labyrinths and perplexities of the 
present world, and eiFectually dispels the gloom of the 
grave, by its full revelation of life and immortality in 
the world to come. Let the recollection, that, for all 
the guidance, consolation and support which it is made 
the instrument of conveying to us, we are indebted to 
Hbi, who, on account of our apostasy, might justly 
have abandoned us to the blackness of darkness for 
ever, excite us to the exercise of unceasing gratitude 
and praise. 

Secondly, Let us attentively consider the regard 
which is due to the volume of inspiration. If "all 
" Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is pro- 
" Stable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for 
" instruction in righteousness" — it behoves us to re- 
ceive and treat it " not as the word of men, but, as it 
is in truth, the word of God." If we possess convinc- 
ing evidence, that no part of Scripture was the simple 
result of human agency, but occupies a place in the 
sacred record in consequence of the all-wise and infal- 
lible influence of the Holy Spirit, the whole volume 
must demand the exercise of those dispositions and the 
application of those principles, which are strictly ac- 
cordant with its paramount character and design. It 
claims our most profound reverence and submission. 


A communication made in the way of miraculous inter- 
position is not to be treated with levity. Every 
approach to such a temper of mind is highly censurable. 
No disposition can possibly be more at variance with 
the stamp of divinity which the Bible exhibits, or the 
thrilling interests which its truths involve. A spirit 
of genuine humility, child-like simplicity, and deep 
attention, must ever characterise the man who gives it 
a suitable reception. And that he alone has reason to 
expect the Divine regard is the solemn decree of 
Jehovah : " To this man will I look, even to him, that 
" is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at 
" MY WORD." Where such a spirit is found, unreserved 
submission, both of intellect and heart, will be its 
certain concomitant. Instead of proudly opposing the 
statements of Scripture, because they may not accord 
with preconceived notions, or favourite hypotheses, 
there will be a cheerful relinquishment of every thing 
that is inconsistent with the will of God. 

Again : The Bible claims our sober, careful, sedulous, 
and comprehensive study. The conviction, that it 
contains a revelation of the mind of God, and embraces 
subjects superlatively important in regard to our pre- 
sent and eternal well-being, ought to excite to the 
diligent and unremitting perusal of its pages. To 
answer its purpose, it must be understood. It is 
written in the language of men, and must therefore be 
studied and interpreted agreeably to the general prin- 
ciples of language. Whatever there may be in the 
nature of its contents, or in certain peculiarities of its 
diction, which requires a modification of the ordinary 


rules of interpretation, yet these rules are constantly 
to be kept in view, if we would attain to just and 
accurate ideas of the subjects which it reveals. The 
exact meaning of terms, phrases, and modes of expres- 
sion is to be carefully ascertained; the subject-matter 
of entire portions is to be definitely marked ; the de- 
pendence of one part upon another, and the coherence 
of each with all, are diligently to be traced ; and in 
conducting the entire process of investigation the 
greatest care is to be taken never to indulge in specu- 
lation, never to give the reins to fancy, and never to 
lose sight of the practical appliances of the truths that 
are discovered. We should be particularly on our 
guard, lest we introduce conceptions or doctrines of 
our own into the Scriptures ; — a practice awfully com- 
mon, but to which no small degree of guilt must attach, 
since it is a substitution of mere human opinion for the 
dictates of the Blessed Spirit — a counterfeiting of his 
holy inspiration. Let us strive to obtain an extensive 
and solid acquaintance with the contents of the sacred 
volume. While we presume not to be wise above what 
is written, let us never rest satisfied with any degrees 
of knowledge which fall below the standard supplied 
by the inspired word. That word is a mine in which 
we may continually dig, and still find beds of the richest 
ore to reward our unwearied research. 

The holy book likewise claims our steady and un- 
alienable attachment. "How love I thy law!" is an 
exclamation which has been responded to by the hearts 
of the pious in every age. Its excellence is unrivalled. 
Its divine authority is fully substantiated. The light 


■\vliicli it supplies is sufficient for every holy and spiri- 
tual purpose. The certainty of the truths which it 
teaches has ever proved an immovable rock on which 
the minds of believers have rested with security and 
delight. Let us therefore hold fast the faithful word. 
Let us not be children, tossed to and fro, and carried 
about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of 
men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait 
to deceive, but, adhering to the truth in love, let us 
grow up into him in all things, who is the Head, even 
Christ. (Eph. iv. 14, 15.) Let us not be soon shaken 
in mind, or troubled by any pretended inspiration or 
utterance (/^/;r£ cid wvEvfiaTOQ, fxij-e ctd Xoyov, 2 Thess. 
ii. 2.) A careful review of miraculous pretensions in 
different ages of the church will convince us, that they 
all more or less exhibit identical features of character ; 
that they may originally be traced to a latent dissatis- 
faction with existing circumstances, an over-excitement 
of feeling, the influence of a luxuriant or heated imagi- 
nation, or the pressure of a certain state of bodily 
temperament ; and that they have been nourished and 
supported by a depreciation of the written word, crude 
or disproportionate notions respecting some of its pro- 
phetical announcements, the total absence of consistent 
interpretation with respect to the Scriptures generally, 
and no small portion of arrogance and pride. While 
it cannot be doubted, that many, perhaps most of those 
who have believed in them, have been really pious, it 
is no less certain, that they have suffered great injury 
in their souls from indulgence in the spiritual revellings 
produced by enthusiasm and hallucination of mind. 


When mercifully recovered out of the snare into which 
they had fallen, they have again bowed with becoming 
reverence to the authority of the divine testimony, to 
the exclusion of all human follies and vagaries ; and, as 
new-born babes, they have desired the sincere milk of 
the word, that they might grow thereby unto salvation. 

Finally, it behoves us seriously to ponder the respon- 
sibilities which attach to us as the depositaries of 
Divine Revelation. 

Having ourselves received the love of its sacred 
truths, and perseveringly applying them to the great 
purposes connected with our present and eternal happi- 
ness, our duty next regards its sacred preservation and 
unlimited extension. We ought at all times to watch 
over it with the most sedulous care. We should be 
jealous for its honour ; defend its character ; maintain 
its purity ; and transmit it to others in a- state of un- 
impaired integrity. If our studies, opportunities, or 
means call for exertions in behalf of the critical inves- 
tigation, or settlement of any point relating to the state 
of the original texts, let us take no step without the 
exercise of the greatest caution, much self-diffidence, 
a solemn sense of the importance of Divine truth, and 
a fixed determination to prosecute our researches, and 
draw our conclusions by the conscientious application 
of all the means which lie at our command, in the fear 
of God, and with a single view to his glory. Against 
conjectural emendation we ought to be specially on 
our guard. Nothing but positive evidence should ever 
lead us to make or propose an alteration in the reading 
of any text of Scripture. 


If we are called to engage in the work of translation, 
it is indispensable that we perform, the task in such a 
manner as shall faithfully convey the mind of the Spirit 
to those into whose language the version is made. 
We should diligently avail ourselves of the superior 
advantages which are now so abundantly supplied. 
Every means should be laid under contribution, that 
promises to elucidate the philology, geography, history, 
doctrines, and morality of the Bible. Especially should 
there predominate a spirit of nice discrimination with 
respect to the idiomatical and other differences existing 
between the original languages and modern tongues. 
Lightly as the science of Biblical translation has been 
estimated, and unthinkingly as many have embarked 
in the undertaking, it cannot admit of a doubt, that, of 
all engagements, it is the most solemnly responsible. 
For a weak, erring mortal to propose to himself to 
furnish in another language an exact representation 
of all that Jehovah hath revealed for the instruction of 
mankind — nothing adding, nothing abating, nothing 
discolouring, is a task of the most appalling magnitude. 
It requires a mind not only well stored with the requi- 
site literary furniture, but a holy familiarity with 
sacred truth, and a spirit plentifully baptized with 
heavenly influence. Except the Bible be translated in 
the spirit of the Bible, the blessed truths which it con- 
tains cannot fail to be tarnished and profaned. 

But it is not only our duty vigilantly to preserve 
and carefully to transmit the Scriptures in a state of 
incontaminate purity and integrity: we lie under an 
imperious obligation to give them the widest possible 


circulation among our fellow-men. There exists not a 
human being, possessed of the powers of reason, for 
whose use they were not designed. There is not a 
truth which they reveal, nor a blessing of which they 
are the appointed medium of conveyance, which does 
not belong to him equally with ourselves. But, how 
few comparatively of the inhabitants of the globe are 
in possession of the inestimable boon ! Hundreds of 
millions have never read, or heard read to them, a 
single word of all the inspired truth which the Father 
of mercies hath communicated to us ! With respect 
to their actual condition, it is, in a spiritual point of 
view, the same as if no holy seer had ever spoken, as if 
no inspired apostle had ever committed to writing a 
single idea respecting God, the way of salvation, or the 
eternal world. Let us hasten to their relief. Let us 
extend to them the lamp and light of life. Let us rally 
round, and more vigorously and zealously than ever 
support that noblest of institutions. The British and 
Foreign Bible Society — a Society, the sole and 
exclusive object of which is to circulate the Volume 
OF Inspiration to the utmost extent among the inha- 
bitants of every nation under heaven. By carrying 
forward and extending its operations, while we lend 
efficient aid to other important institutions, whose 
labours in the field of Christian philanthropy have all 
a more or less direct bearing on the spread of divine 
truth, we shall, by the grace of God, discharge our 
duty as stewards of the trust committed to us, remain 
free from the blood of souls, and accelerate the approach 
of that period, when the way of the Lord shall be 


known upon earth, and his saving health among all 

May He of whom the Scriptures testify, and to 
glorify whom the Spirit, under whose inspiration they 
were written, continues his gracious and saving in- 
fluences, be all our salvation and all our desire ! May 
we enjoy the perpetual tuition of that blessed Teacher ! 
And may we shine as lights in the world, holding forth 
the word of life, that it may be cause of mutual rejoic- 
ing in the day of Christ, that we have not run in vain, 
neither laboured in vain ! 



Note A. Page 10. 

In the Koran itself, pretensions to inspii-ation are advanced 
in almost every page. The very formulas A'i , lojiiil ' Aj-i , 

CJjJI Jjil U, ^1 Jjil Uj lyUl, L->Ia$3I. " TheKorcm 
" descended ; the Book descended ; they believe in tchcd God hath 
" caused to descend ; what he hath caused to descend to thee ;'^ 
and such like, which perpetually occur, claim for it a celestial 
origin, and ascribe its communication to Mohammed to celes- 
tial influence. In the vith Sura, after recognising the fact of 
former revelations having been made, the Divine Being is 

made to say, ^ ^_^jj] rj^^o^ ^J^ J$lAi^il L^KJS I j^^ 
'ij=>-% c;y^^. e;?.'^^j V>^ i:/*J ^J^^ f^ jtkxi)^ <)cj>Jo_ 
^klail^^ f^^^^X^ jJ^ f^^ ^ ^^y^^„• '' This Book, which 

" we have sent down, is a blessed Book, confirming vrhat was 
" already given, and is sent that thou mayest publish it to the 
" people of the city, and of the surrounding country ; and those 
" who believe in a future state, will believe in it ; even those 
" who observe the stated seasons of prayer." And in the 
ivth Sura, its inspiration is placed upon the same footing with 

that of the ancient prophets : Uui^l Ui" lLUH Uas^.I li) 

U^^J U^^fy "^^iv ^J^i LU**.^!^ S-'y^J J'^^J 
jy^-J *^J -^^ 1? {J'^^'^i^y " We have made a revelation to 

H H 


" thee^ as we made revelations to Noah, and the prophets who 
" succeeded him ; and as we made revelations to Abraham, 
" Isaac, and Jacob, and the tribes, and to Jesus, and Job, and 
" Jonah, and Aaron, and Solomon ; and as we gave the Psalter 
" to David." On this ground the Koran, which by way of 
eminence is called The Book, or Bible, is expressly called a 

celestial revelation, .^j.^'' J^l <xiJ) ^ t-jU^l (bfJU 
" The Book is a revelation sent down from God the mighty, the 
" wise." Beginning of Sura xxxixth, and several others. 

The common Mohammedan belief on the point is thus ex- 
pressed in a Turkish MS. in my possession, containing a 
Confession of the Orthodox faith. The chapter is entituled, 

JUJ <)dll c->ll^, " The Books of God;" and begins thus: 

jdj\^ ^Jj>}j^ ciAi^Jl^* id!) ^jd^J\ CL^dX^^ ^d^ 
^t)JjuJa^ J'»Joj»j>^ji ^Js>i»^Jol ^jt^iy <)djl (Jj^jjsi- 

" I also declare my belief that there are IJivine Books, sent 
" down from heaven by Gabriel, to the prophets upon the earth, 
" besides wliich there are no others, nor did he come to any 
" besides. To Mohammed, on whom be peace and salvation, 
" the Koran descended, piece by piece, during the space of 
" twenty-three years, till it was completed ; — to Moses, on 


" whom be peace, the Law ; — to Jesus, on whom be peace, the 
" Gospel ; — to David, on whom be peace, the Psalter ; — and to 
" the rest of the prophets the remainder descended. All the 
*' books are one hundi'ed and twenty-four in number. They 
" are all true ; but the Koran is the greatest of all. It was 
" given last, and its authority will continue till the last day." 

Note B. Page 12. 

The strict theological distinction between Revelation and 
Inspiration, is of comparatively modem date. No traces of it 
are to be found in the Fathers ; nor was it at all used by the 
Reformers, how strenuously soever they contended for the 
divine authority of the Scriptures. It appears to have been 
first introduced in the seventeenth century by Calovius, in his 
System. Theol. tom. i. p. 555 . It was improved upon by Quen- 
stedt, and afterwards more scientifically treated by Baumgarten, 
Seller, and other divines; but has since been abandoned as 
unnecessarily clogging the subject. Even Quenstedt himself 
was compelled to admit that it could not be absolutely main- 
tained. He thus defines : " Distingue inter divinam revela- 
" tionem, et inspirationem. Revelatio formaliter, et vi vocis, 
" est manifestatio rerum ignotanim et occultarum ; et potest 
" fieri multis et diversis modis, scil. vel per externum alloquiv.m^ 
" vel per somnia et tisiones. (Nam Revekire Greece airoKa- 
" XvTTTeiv, est id, quod occultum erat, retegere.) Inspiratio est 
" actio Spiritus S. qua actualis rerum cognitio intellectui create 
" supernaturaliter infunditur ; seu, est interna conceptuum 
" suggestio, seu infusio, sive res conceptae jam ante Scriptori 
" fueruit cognita?, sive occultae. Ilia (Revelatio) potuit tempore 
" antecedere scriptionem, hsec cum scriptione semper fidt con- 
" juncta, et in ipsam scriptionem influebat. Interim non nego 
" ipsam deoTTuevaTiav, sive divinam inspirationem dici posse 
" revelationem secundum quid, quateuus scil. est manifestatio 
" certarum circumstantiarum, item ordinis et modi, quibus res 
" consignandse et scribendse erant ; quandoque etiam revelatio 


" cum ipsa inspiratione divina concurrit, atqne coincidet, 
*' quando scil. divina mysteria inspirando revelantur, et reve- 
" lando inspirantur, in ipsa scriptione." TheoL Didaci. Polem. 
Witteb. 1685, fol. p. 68. See also Baumgarten, Dissert, de 
Biscrimiue Revelationis et Inspiratiouis, Halse, 1743, 41xo. 
Seller Program, de Eevelationis et Inspirationis rite Consti- 
tuendo. Erlansen, 1794, 4to. 


Note C. Page 30. 

The dogma of the iKuopsva-is, or procession of the Holy 
Ghost, was first fixed as an article of faith on occasion of the 
Macedonian heresy. At the second cecumenical council, held 
at Constantinople in the year 381, the original article on the 
Holy Spirit : Tnarevojiev els ro "ytov Trvevfia, had appended to 
ft the clause: to Kvpiov, to ((oottolov, to ck tov TraTpos 
iKTTopevofjLevov, k.t.X. and ever since, notwithstanding the dis- 
cussion of ihejilioque controversy, the doctrine of essential 
procession has continued to be regarded as the only orthodox 
view, both in the Eastern and Western churches. Chrysostom, 
however,^ explains the tenn in such a way as to favour its 
economical acceptation, in which light it was viewed by Calvin, 
Beza, Bucer, Rollock, Martyr, and other reformers.^ Beza's 
note is as follows : " Certum est autem hie non agi de ipsa 
" Spiritus essentia, sed de ipsius virtute et efficacia in nobis : 
" cujus virtutis autorem facit Patrem, non ut sese vel ipsum 
" Spiritum sanctum excludat, sed ut discipulorum oculos a 
" camis infirmitate aversos ad Deitatis intuitum evehat, ut 
" norint videlicet qua virtute sint deinceps confirmandi. Itaque 
" hujusmodi testimonia nee a Graecis, nee contra Graecos, ad 
" personse Spiritus sancti emanationem relativam sive origina- 
" lem satis apposite sunt citata." 

The subject is ably handled by Lampe, ni sup. to whom, and 
to Titmann, in his Meletemata, p. 570, we refer the reader. 

(1) Homil. de SpirituSancto, (2) Lampe on John xv. 26, vol. iii. p 276. 


Note D. Page 53. 

Canon II. — In specie aiitem Hebraicus Veteris Testamenti 
Codex, quern ex Traditioue Ecclesise Judaicee, cui olim oracula 
Dei commissa sunt, accepimus, hodieque retinemus, turn quoad 
consonans, turn quod ad vocalia sive puncta ipsa, sive punctorum 
saltern potestatem, ita authenticus est, et turn quoad res, turn 
quoad verba QeonvevaTos, ut Eidei et vitse nostrse, una cum 
Codice Novi Testamenti, situnicuset illibatus Canon, ad cujus 
normam, ceu Lydiura lapidem, miiversse quse extant Yersiones 
Orientales, sive Occidentales exigendse, et sicubi deflectunt, 
revocandge sunt. — Formula Consensus Eccles. Helvet. Reform. 

Note E. Page 55, 

Of the several wi'iters who published on Inspiration in con- 
sequence of the circulation of Le Clerc's sentiments, the first 
in the field was Prebendary Lowth, in a little work entitled : 
A Vindication of the Divine Autliority and Inspiration of the 
Old and New Testaments. By the Rev. William Lowth, B.D. 
It was first pubHshed in 1G92, but appeared in a second edition, 
w4th amendments, and a new preface, wherein the antiquity of 
the Pentateuch is asserted, and vindicated from some late 
objections. A third edition was published, London, 1821. 

The next who wrote was Lamothe: The , Inspiration of the 
New Testament asserted and explained in Answer to some Modern 
Writers. By C. G. Lamothe, Divine. London : 1694. In this 
work the subject is treated with much greater discrimination 
than in that which preceded it ; and the author has avoided 
several statements and forms of expression by which Mr. Lowth 
had laid himself open to objection. 

The valuable observations of Dr. John Williams are contained 
in his Boyle's Lecture for 1695, especially the Sixth and Seventh 
Sermons on The Divine Authority of the Scriptures, and the 
several Ways of Revelation. 


The Divine Authority of the Holy Scriptures asserted, in Two 
Discourses ; the former showing the Nature and Extent of the 
Inspiration vouchsafed hy the Holy Ghost to the Penmen of the 
Scriptures, and the distinct Share of each therein, 8fc. By Samuel 
Clarke, M.A. Loudon : 1699, Contains many excellent 

Dr. Edmund Calamy's work, thougli likeAvise making common 
cause with those which have just been mentioned, against the 
innovations of Le Clerc, was more immediately occasioned by 
the pretended inspiration of the French prophets. Its title is : 
The Inspiration of the Holy Writings of the Old and New Testa- 
ment considered and improved. In Tourteen Sermons, preached 
at the Merchants' Lecture at Sailers' Hall. London: 1710. 
It is still one of the best books which we have on the subject. 

Dr. Whitby's remarks on the doctrine, contained in the eight 
first sections of the General Preface to his Commentary, are very 
judicious and satisfactory. 

The Truth, Inspiration, atid Usefulness of the Scripture asserted 
and proved. In several Discourses on 2 Tim. iii. 16. By the 
late Rev. and learned Mr. Benjamin Bennett. Published from 
his Manuscripts by L. Latham, M.D. London : 1730. A plain, 
but solid and useful work. 

A Dissertation on the Inspiration of the Neio Testament, as 
proved from the Facts recorded in the Historical Books of it. 
This important Dissertation of Dr. Doddridge is the second of 
two annexed to his Expositor, and continues to be a treatise 
of classical authority in reference to the subject. 

The Doctrine of Grace : or the Office and Operations of the 
Holy Spirit, 8fc. By William, Lord Bishop of Gloucester. 
London: 1763. In this work, amidst much that is paradoxical 
and extravagant, Dr. Warburton advances many acute obser- 
vations in regard to inspiration, both as it regards the extraor- 
dinary endo^vments of the apostles generally, and the particular 
influence under which they composed their writings. 

The Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures asserted and explained: 
in Three Dissertations, in which a plain and rational Solution is 


attempted to be given to the following Inquiries : I. What Scrip- 
tures are divinely inspired? II. In what Sense the Holy 
Scriptures are so ? And III. What Proof loe have of it ? By 
John Kiddell, of Tiverton, Devon. London : 1779. This tract, 
which is of extreme rarity, contains much valuable matter 
directly bearing on the queries here specified ; and is rendered 
the more remarkable by its having been translated into German 
by Semler, whose copious notes, appended to the text, evince 
that his object in publishing it Avas merely to give currency to 
his own freethinking opinions respecting both the inspiration 
and the canon of Scripture. 

A Treatise on the Plenary Inspiration of the New Testament. 
By the Bev. J. L. Moore. London : 1793. 

Note E. Page 55. 

By this time the principles of Socianism began to come to 
some maturity in this country; and among other doctrines 
which were openly attacked by its abettors was that of inspira- 
tion. Dr. Priestley, in his Theological Repository, and his 
Institutes of Natural and Revealed Religion ; Mr. Wakefield, 
in his Essay on Inspiration, which he significantly designates — 
" this vexatious doctrine of mspu'ation ;" and Dr. Geddes, in 
the preface to the second volume of his Bible, undisguisedly 
renounced the plenary inspiration of the sacred penmen, and 
indeed their inspiration in any sense deserv^ing the name. The 
last-mentioned writer, than whom scarcely any of the conti- 
nental neologians has gone farther in profane levity and daring 
assertion, roundly declares, that he would not beheve the 
absolute inspiration of the Hebrew writings were an angel from 
heaven to teach it. To counteract the influence of their state- 
ments, and of others made by those who have since espoused 
their views, the following works have appeared : — 

An Essay on the Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, 8fc. By 
William Nelson, Edinburgh . With Notes, by Alexander Boicyer^ 
Author of the Life of Br. Beattie. (No date,) 


The Divine Inspiration of the Jewish Scriptures, or the Old 
Testament, asserted by St. Patd, 2 Tim. iii. 16 ; and Dr. Geddeis 
Reasons against this Sense of his Words examined. By Robert 
Findley, D.D. Professor of Theology in the JJniversity of Glasgow. 
London : 1803. An admirable specimen of sacred criticism. 

An Essay on the Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, by John 
Dick, A.M. Third Edition, with Corrections and Additions. 
Glasgow : 1813. In this work the subject is very fully and 
ably gone into ; but the view which it gives of verbal inspira- 
tion has been greatly modified in the ninth of the author's 
excellent Lectiu:es on Theology, recently published. 

An Inquiry into the Nature and Extent of the Inspiration of 
the Apostles, and other Writers of the New Testament. Co?iducted 
with a view to some late Opinions on the Subject. By the late 
Rev. William Parry, Tutor of Wymondley Academy. Second 
Edition. London: 1822. 

We here subjoin a few works which have more lately ap- 

The Books of the Old and Neiv Testament proved to be Ca- 
nonical, and their Verbal hispiratioii maintained atid established, 
8fc. By Robert Haldane, Esq. Third Edition, much enlarged. 
Edinburgh: 1830. 

Tlie Theories of Inspiration of the Rev. Daniel Wilson, Rev. 
Dr. Pye Smith, and the Rev. Dr. Dick, proved to be erroneous; 
with Remarks on the Christian Observer, and Eclectic Review. 
By Alexander Carson, A.M. Minister of the Gospel. Edinburgh. 
(No date.) 

Both authors maintain verbal inspiration in its narrowest 
and most restricted sense, and, in the most unmeasured terms, 
reprobate all who are of a different opinion. 

Proofs of Inspiration, or the Grounds of Distinction between 
the New Testament and the Apocryphal Volume, ^'C. By tfie 
Rev. Thomas Rennell, B.D. F.R,S. Vicar of Kensington, London : 


A View of Inspiration, comprehending the Nature and Dis- 
tinctions of the Spiritual Gifts and Offices of the Apostolic Age. 
By Alexander Macleod. Glasgow : 1827. 

Lectures on the Inspiration of the Scriptures, hy Leonard Woods, 
B.D., Abbot Professor of Christian Theology in the Theological 
Seniinary, Andover. Andover : 1829. In this little work the 
subject is treated very judiciously, as it has since been by the 
same writer in a very able article under the head of Inspiration, 
in Kitto's Biblical Cyclopsedia. 

An Inquiry iiito the Proofs, Nature, and Extent of Inspiration, 
and the Authority of Scripture. By the Rev. Samuel Hinds, M.A. 
of Queen's College, and Vice-Principal of St. Alban's Hall, Oxford. 
London: 1831. This work is written with great sobriety and 
judgment, but without going critically into the examination of 
particular passages of Scripture. 

The Plenary Inspiration of the Scriptures asserted, and the 
Principles of their Composition investigated, with a vieio to the 
Refutation of all Objections to their Bidinity, 8fc. By the Rev. 
S. Noble. London: 1825, The title of this work is here in- 
serted, merely in order to furnish an occasion of cautioning the 
reader not to expect from it what it does not contain. Its 
object is to palm upon the world the allegorical jargon of 
Swedenborgianism or the universally hidden and spiritual sense, 
under the imposing name of plenary inspiration. 

Refutation of Dr. Henderson' s Doctrine in his late Work on 
Divine Inspiration : with a Critical Dissertation on 2 Tim. iii. 16. 
By Alexander Carson, A. 21. London: 1837. The virulent 
spirit, and scurrilous personalities which pervade this work, 
evince how keenly the author must have felt the force of the 
arguments employed in the Lecture on the subject of verbal 
inspiration, to which the professed Refutation is almost exclu- 
sively confined ; and render it impossible to meet it with any 
thing in the shape of a dignified reply. The main points of the 
controversy are left entirely untouched. 

Theopneustia : the Plenary Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures. 
Prom the Fre?ich of L. Gaussen. London : 1841. This is an 


eloquent defence of the doctrine generally, and has special 
reference to the question of verbal inspiration. It contains 
many able observations in answer to infidel objections, 'as 
well as to some loose assertions, which have been made by 
Prof. Twesten and others, who, in the main, take the orthodox 
view of the subject. 

Several other authors have treated on the subject, though 
not in separate publications, as Dr. Erazer, referred to, p. 55 ; 
Dr. Wilson, in his work on the Evidences of Christianity ; the 
Rev. Hartwell Home, in his valuable Introduction to the 
Study of the Scriptures ; Bishop Tomline, in his Elements of 
Theology; Professor Pusey, in the Second Part of his Historical 
Inquiry ; Dr. PoweU, in the Boyle Lectures ; and my esteemed 
friend. Dr. John Pye Smith, in his justly celebrated work on 
the Scripture Testimony to the Messiah; vol. i. p. 35, second 

Before closing this note, it may be proper to adduce some 
of the leading foreign publications in wliich the doctrine of 
inspiration is professedly discussed, and which those who wish 
to pui'sue the study of it would do weU to consult. 

Klemm. (Joh. Chris.) Diss. QeoTrvevaria sacrarum Uterarum 
asserta. Tub. 1743. 

Stosch (Ered.) Diss. Theol. de duplici Apostolorum Qeonvev- 
(TTia, tum generali, turn speciaU. Guelpherbyti : 1754. 

Teller (Guil. Abr.) Progr. Defensio Inspirationis divinse 
Vatum sacrorum adversus enthusiasmum Poeticum. Helmst. 

Diss, de Inspirationis Script. Sac. judicio formando. 

Helmst. 1704. 

ToUner (Joh. Gottl.) Die Gottliche Eingebung der heihgen 
Schrift untersucht. Mittau und Leipzig. 1772. A work of 
487 pages, in wliich the subject of the inspiration of the Scrip- 
tures is more fully discussed than in any other that has 

Hoffmann (Joh. Thorn.) Exercit. Hist. Theol. communis vete- 


nun D.octrinfe de Inspiratione divina a recentior. nommll. 
Argutationibiis vindicata. Dresdse : 1782. 

Hegelmaier (Job. Godof.) de OeoTzveva-Tia ejusque Statu in 
Viris Sanctis Librorum sacrorum Auctoribus. Tub. 1784. 

Meyer (Laurent.) Connnent. de Inspiratione Scripturse sacrse, 
qua ejus indolem explanare conatus est. Ultraj. 1781. 

Sontag (Gust. Trid. Nicol.) Doctrina Inspirationis ejusque 
Ratio, Historia et Usus popularis. Heidelb. 1810. 

DuUo (H. E.) Ueber die Gottliche Eingebung des N. T. 
Jena. 1816. 

Credner (Car. Aug.) de Librorum N. T. Inspu-atione quid 
statuerint Cliristiani ante saeculum tertium medium. 

Elwert (M.) Ueber die Lehre von der Inspiration, in Bezie- 
hung auf das Neue Testament, ein Yersuch. — Studien der 
Evangeliclien Geistlichkeit Wirtembergs. iii. B. 2. Heft. 1831. 

That no unjust accusation is brought against Griesbach, 
p. 56, the following positions, extracted from his Stricturar. in 
locum de Theopneustia Libr. Sacr. (Opuscula Academica, vol. ii. 
pp. 288 — 357,) will be sufficient to prove. 

" I. Omnia quae in libris Novi Testamenti leguntur, e theo- 
" pneustia (stricte sumta) scripta esse, probari nequit. Nam 
" neque e scripturse sacrse oraculis cogi hoc potest, neque res 
" ipsa et librorum sacrorum destinatio necessario id postulat. 

" II. In collectione librorum Novi Testamenti continentur 
" fortasse scripta nonnulla apostolica, eaque genuina, quibus 
" 7iihil inest theopneustia. Et nihil o tamen secius talia scripta 
" suo jure et merito locum suum in canone obtment. 

" III. Liber No\d Testamenti constare potest partibus di- 
" versse indoHs ; iuspii'atis admixtse esse possunt non iiispiratae. 

" rV. Non datur criterium certum, cujus ope id quod ex 
" theopneustia profectum est, ab eo quod absque inspiratione 
" dictum aut scriptum est, dignosci queat." — P. 356. 


Note G. Page 80. 

That the "goings forth" of the Messiah (vni<^i?D) spoken of, 
Micah Y. 2, refer to liis previous manifestations in the times of 
Moses and the patriarchs, seems the most natural interpretation 
of the phrase, especially as what it designates is obviously put 
in contrast vnth. his manifestation when he should actually 
assume human nature, and " come forth " («?.'.) among men. 
Grotius, Michaehs, and Rosemniiller, interpret it of descent or 
family origin; but Mr. J. J. Gurney ^ has satisfactorily shown, 
that though the substantive is capable of signifying extraction 
or filiation, its meaning must be determined by that of the verb 
as used in the present passage. But whenever «^^' has any 
such signification, the preposition p is placed before the name 
of the parent or family, and never before that of the place, 
which is the case here. 

Note H. on Deut. xxxiii. 2 — 5. Page 105. 

V. 2. The rendering of '^'o), " he rose up to tkem," in our 
common version, clogs the passage. The dative of the pronoun 
is here, as frequently, redundant after an intransitive verb of 
motion. The Targum of Onkelos, the LXX., and the Syriac 
and Vulgate versions read ^tl, the fii'st person plural, but the 
reading is clearly to be attributed to conjecture. It is unsup- 
ported by manuscript authority. — ttJ"3P ninn-ip nm), " He came 
with holy myriads." The LXX. mistaking ^"V, Kodesh, for 
^^^5, Kadesh, render the words thus : avv ixvptaa-i Kadrjs, " with 
myriads at Kadesh;" but still, having an impression that 
reference was had to the angels, they add, ck be^iSv avrov 
ayyiKoL fier avrov. Aquila, however, Symmachus, the Yenet. 
Greek, and the Spiac agree with Onkelos in considering the 
term to be a substantive, signifying " holiness ;" which, being 
governed by the preceding noun, has the force of an adjective, 
and is by Symmachus so expressed. That "in?-) the fcm. plur. 

(1) Biblical Notes and Dissertations, pp. 80, 81. 


should be employed of angels, can excite no surprise, since this 
numeral is only used in the feminine. See among other pas- 
sages, Neh, vii. 71 : ^'^^^ '™ o\:iQ?71. In fact, it is employed 
in the dual form of the fem. in the parallel passage, Psalm 
Ixviii. 17. 

The words ^'3$ nTC« ii'O'o have greatly perplexed inter- 
preters. The principal difficulty has been occasioned by the 
unusual combination n'^'cx, which, as it is found in upwards of 
a hundred of Kennicott and De Rossi's MSS. and in twenty- 
five printed editions, has been supposed to come from rn^, "'T'^, 
or even from the Arab. JwjI, and interpretations agreeing with 
such derivations have been advanced ; but they have all failed 
in affording satisfaction. Those who have most distinguished 
themselves for critical taste regard the word as compounded 
of t^^j and nn — an opinion which is confirmed by the circum- 
stances, that it is included by the Eabbins in the number of 
fifteen words, which though written as one are nevertheless to 
be read as two, and that in a great number of the best MSS. 
the Keri exhibits nn mj>*, which several editors, both Jewish 
and Christian, have adopted as the textual reading. With 
respect to ri:^, the signification of law is now pretty generally 
acquiesced in; and Gesenius, in his Thesaurus, very inge- 
niously traces its etymology. The singularity of its occurrence 
in pure Hebrew is not greater than that which is exhibited in 
several other parallel instances. That the construction should 
be '"1^ 'i'^, and not ^« n^, according to rule, seems at first sight 
to present an obstacle to the rendering : " law of fire," oijery 
law ; but the prominence which the writer intended to give ta 
the igneous phenomenon is sufficient to account for the 
anomaly. Compare 'n?? pnv,lsaiahliii. 11, and my Commentary 
on the words. Winer's observation in Simonis Lex. is : "In 
loco Deut. xxxiii. 2, ht mJ^? significare \ddetur ignem legis, h. e. 
legem igneam, media inter fulgura promulgatam." The ralj at 
the end of the verse is the poetic singular, as in the preceding 
instance, only it is here- used as the dative of possession. 


V. 3. Li v^ip there is an evident continuation of the third 
person from the foregoing participle, though the transition in 
the following word to the second person, renders it necessary 
in a translation to adopt the change earlier. — ^7;^ is quite 
idiomatic, and does not express more than the simple preposi- 
tion D^, or the particle ri«. (See Gesen. in voc, t aa). — The 
dira^Xeyofievov HDri, like the Arab. IC, signifies, to bend om's 
self, fall down, fall prostrate, and is used here to express the 
deep reverence of the angeHc hosts on the occasion to which 
reference is made. — ^is*? is taken partitively, as "i^^, Is. xlv. 24, 
*' he," i. e. each, " saith." The verb has here aU the pregnance 
of its meaning — signifying not merely to take, take up, but to 
take up so as to bear away. 

V. 5. That the King mentioned in this verse was Jehovah, 
and not Moses, as Abenezra interprets, seems past dispute. 

Note I. Page 124. 

The force of the evidence afforded by 1 Cor. x. 9, in support 
of the doctrine of our Lord's being the object of temptation on 
the part of the Israelites, has been attempted to be got rid of 
in two ways. 

1. By adopting the reading Kvpiov, or Qeov, instead of 
Xpiardv. To this adoption, however, which is that of the 
" Improved Yersion," it must be objected, that it is not criti- 
cally supported, and neither of the readings has been received 
by any editor into the text of the Greek New Testament. 
The relative claims of the various readings are thus exhibited 
by Scholz -.—Kvpiov B C 17, 31, 39, 46, 73, 80, 109, al. Syr. p. 
in m. Copt. MS. Arm. (sed in m. edd. Amst. et Constant. 
Xpia-rdv) Aeth. Epiph. (qui Marcionem KvpLov in Xpiarou 
mutasse putavit.) Chrys. (alicubi) Theodoret. Damasc. Epist. 
synodi Antioch. ad Samosat. Sedul. Cassiod. Qeov A 2. Slav. 
MS. Beda. Xpio-rov testes rcHqui fere oranes, ctiam 1G5. Syr. 
Arr. Sahid. Vulg. It. Theodotus. Sen. (apud Ir. 27, 263) Chrys. 
Theoph. Ambr. Aug. Ambrosiast. Pelag. r« Xpia-ra 23**. 


2. By supplying Q^ov after iirelpaa-av. But, it is an ad- 
mitted principle of construction, that when the same verb is 
repeated, and no object is expressed in the second instance, 
we are to consider the same object to be referred to in both 
cases. One example in proof will be sufficient ; but it is one 
so exactly parallel both in expression and sense, that it ought 
to set the question completely at rest. It is Deut. vi. 16. 
rrom cn^p? Ti'^JS CD'ribx nirrns iE:jp «"?, which the LXX. render : 
ovK eK7r€Lpdcreis <vptov rov Qeov crov, ov rpoirov e^eTreipacraTe 
iv rw neipaa-ixa. In our common version, the translators 
have very properly supplied the word /lim, and, to be consis- 
tent, they should have supplied the ellipsis in the same way, 
1 Cor. X. 9. It is in fact supplied in almost aU the versions 
(Belsham's itself not excepted) — it being felt to be absolutely 
necessary to the full expression of the sense. 

NoteK. Page 137. 

Es zeigt sich, dass auch die wahren Propheteu sich in einem 
ausserordentKchen, von dem gewohnlichen characteristisch ver- 
schiedenen Zustande, ia eiuer eKo-rao-iy befanden, in der das 
verstdiidige Beiciistseyn zuriicktrat, und das ganze Selbstleben 
durch eine gewaltsame Wirkiing des gottlichen Geistes unter- 
driickt, und zu einem leidentHchen Yerhalten gebracht wurde, 
so dass die Propheten, wie Philo sagt, DoUmetcher waren, 
deren Organe sich Gott zur Mittheilung seiner Offenbarung 
bediente. — Auch auf die wahren Propheten leidet demnach 
Anwendung, was Plato im Ion und Phadi'us ausfiihrt, dass mit 
der Weissagung nothwendig die Unterdriickung der mensch- 
Uchen Thatigkeit und des verstdndigeu Bewusteyns verbunden 
sey. — Mit dem verstdndigen Bewustsei/n trat zugleich ihr nie- 
deres Seelenleben zuriick. Christologie des Alien Testaments. 
I. Th. I AbtheH. pp. 294, 297. 


Note L. Page 202. 

It seems altogether probable that the Apostle Jude quotes 
the passage of Enoch's prophecies from tradition, and not from 
the apocryphal book of Enoch, which is frequently quoted by 
the Fathers. This book, which was long supposed to be lost, 
was found by Bruce, in an Ethiopic translation, in Abyssinia, 
and has lately been published by Dr. Laurence (the present 
Archbishop of Cashel), who is of opmion that it is the produc- 
tion of some unknown Jew, under the assumed name of Enoch, 
who lived shortly before the time of our Lord. It has been 
shewn, however, by an able writer in the Christian Observer, 
vol. XXX. pp. 417 — 426, 496 — 503, that it could not have been 
written earlier than the middle of the second century of our 
era. See Home's Introd. vol. ii. Part II. p. 139. Stuart on 
the Apocalypse, vol. i. pp. 50 — 74. 

Note M. Page 215. 
Of the great value put upon the Pagan Oracles, and the 
importance that was attached to their decisions, no one can be 
ignorant who is at all acquainted with ancient history. They 
were resorted to on aU state occasions of any consequence — 
on the commencement of war, or the conclusion of peace ; the 
founding of cities and colonies ; the establishment of religious 
ceremonies ; the enactment of laws ; the introduction of new 
forms of government ; or the prevalence of any public calamity. 
They were also consulted by individuals of different ranks in 
society in reference to any subject in which they felt peculiarly 
interested. It is obviously to their influence we are to ascribe 
most of the sudden revolutions and other remarkable occur- 
rences which happened in the states of antiquity, but which 
cannot be traced either to the councils of political msdom, or 
to the power of arms. The response of a god frequently 
effected what the impulse of merely human motives never could 
have accomplished. Sometimes the oracular responses were 


professedly given by the gods themselves ; at other times they 
were imparted by priests and priestesses, who acted as inter- 
preters. Those who consulted them were obliged prenously 
to present valuable offerings and sacrifices. They were, as in 
the case of the Delphic oracle, minutely inteiTOgated as to 
their private history and their expectations ; they were then 
conducted into a dismal cavern, where they were exposed to a 
damp and noxious air ; and were sometimes required to drink 
a potion, the effect of which on the imagination tended to 
complete thek melancholy and stupefaction, and thus prepare 
them for becoming the dupes of an artful superstition. T\Tien 
no difficulty clogged the question which required an answer, 
the language of the oracle was clear and explicit ; but in cases 
of a complicated and doubtful character, the response was pro- 
portionately equivocal. In cases of extreme difficulty, when 
the very existence of the oracle was at stake, no answer 
whatever could be obtained. Great management is apparent 
in all the measm-es connected with their consultation. 

Of the different nations of antiquity, none were more famous 
for oracles than Egypt and Greece, where they existed in great 
numbers : among which, were those of Jupiter Amnion at 
Thebes and Ammonium, and those at Dodona and Delphi, the 
last of which became the most celebrated, and consequently 
the most frequented of all. With the exception of the Cumeean 
Sibyl, the SibyUine books, and a few others, the Romans had 
no domestic oracles, but availed themselves, on particular 
occasions, of the Egyptian and Grecian. 

The fact, that most of these oracles became silent about the 
time of the introduction of Christianity, has induced many to 
believe that there was really something supernatural in them ; 
that they were the result of demoniacal inspiration ; and that 
their cessation is to be ascribed to the victory gained by our 
Saviour over the powers of darkness. In this hypothesis there 
is much to commend itself to the Christian mind ; and could 
the basis, on which it rests, be shown to be sufficiently solid, 
it might lay claim to universal adoption. On examining the 
I I 


liistory of oracles, however, we meet with so many traces of 
manifest dupHcity and fraud ; such a disposition to philippize 5 
such a combination of efTective physical causes ; such a degree 
of ignorance and superstition on the part of the credulous 
multitude ; and such an interest to support on that of the 
priests and rulers ; that it is impossible to suppress the con- 
viction that the whole is resolvable into human wickedness^ 
acted upon and disposed of, indeed, by the Spirit that worketh 
in the children of disobedience, but involving no agency of a 
strictly miraculous or extraordinary character. We accordingly 
find, that, before the coming of our Saviour, they had in a great 
measure fallen into discredit, owing partly to the detection of 
the artifices employed to deceive the applicants, partly to the 
failure of their predictions, partly to their mutual contradic- 
tions, and partly to the obscurity and ambiguity in which they 
were generally involved. Many of those who had been their 
votaries, now repudiated them, and philosophers of different 
schools hurled against them the shafts of their ridicule. 
Eusebius states, in his Preeparatio Evangelica, that they had 
been attacked by not fewer than six hundred pagan WTiters ; 
and to judge from the fragments which he has preserved of a 
Vv'ork of CEnomaus on the subject, these attacks must have been 
conducted in the keenest and most unsparing manner. 

That the rapid spread and signal triumphs of the gospel 
should have been maialy instrumental in effecthig the eventual 
and complete overthrow of oracular authority, was the neces- 
sary result of its subversion of the reigning systems of idolatry, 
by which that authority was chiefly supported. In proportion 
as its light was diffused and its power felt, men were turned 
froi)]^ diimb idols to serve the living God, and lying vanities 
were abandoned for the words of eternal life. Still it is 
evident, from the historical statements both of Christian and 
Pagan authors, that certain oracles continued to be consulted, 
and to give their pretended responses a considerable time after 
the Christian sera. Those at Dclphos and Daphne existed 
even in the reign of the Emperor Coustantius ; and it was not 


till the entire eradication of idolatry had beau effected, that 
the superstition became extinct. 

While these counterfeit inspirations were held in detestation 
by' the early Chi-istian writers, except when they could be 
interpreted, so as to bear evidence in favour of the truth of 
Christianity, they regarded in a very different light the Sibyl- 
line oracles, or verses purporting to have been deposited at 
Rome, and containing distinct recognitions of the creation, the 
fall, the deluge, &c., together with striking prophecies respect- 
ing the birth, actions, sufferings, death, and i-esurrection of 
Christ, the succession of several of the Roman emperors, and 
the universal conflagration at the end of the world. These 
statements and prophecies accorded so completely with the 
representations of Seriptui'c, that the Fathers appear to have 
conceived it impossible to employ a more convincing argu- 
mentum ad hominem than by appealing to their testimony. 
There can be no doubt, however, that the collection, to which 
these appeals were made, was, for the most part, a fabrication 
of the second century. The original oracles were delivered 
by pagan females, who were believed to be inspired by the 
gods, the most renowned of whom was the Sibyl of Cumse in 
Campania, to which place the oracle and worship of Apollo had 
been conveyed from the Trojan Ida. T\Tiat remained of the 
books, which she offered to Tarquin, was afterwards augmented 
by the addition of a number more ; and though burnt with the 
Capitol, great efforts were made to coUect them anew from 
various quarters ; and of those which were collected, not fewer 
than one thousand verses were declared to be genuine, and 
preserved with the greatest care in the new temple of Jupiter 
Capitolinus. So great was their authority, that a vast number 
of spurious productions appeared under their name, many of * 
which contained an amalgamation of heathen prophecies, ydih. 
imitations of the LXX. and ultimately of the Christian Scrip- 
tures :— a circumstance which accounts in part for the extreme 
jealousy with which the Roman government regarded the exist- 
ence of such oracles in private hands, and the high estimation 


ill \vliich they were held by Clement of Alexandria, and other 
Christian authors in and before his time. 

To one or other of these collections in its purer state, it is 
not impossible Virgil may have been indebted for his glowing 
description of the golden age, contained in his fourth Eclogue, 
in which he expressly refers to the Cumsean oracle ; and thus, 
at second hand, he may have borrowed his imagery from the 
Jewish Scriptures. The eight books at present extant under 
the. name of the Sibyls, contain most of what was used by the 
Fathers ; but they have also been made up of additional matter 
— the result of well-meant but most unjustifiable attempts to 
gain over the pagans to a belief in Christianity. The same 
must be said respecting the books which passed under the 
names of Hydaspes, Trismegistus, and others, for which a high 
antiquity was claimed, and whose predictions were ascribed to 
inspiration. The best editions of the Sibylline oracles are 
those of Servatius Gallseus, Amst. 3689, in 4to., and Angelo 
Majo, Milan, 1817, in 8vo. Consult the work of Professor 
Thorlacius, published at Copenhagen, 1815, in 8vo., under the 
title Libri SibyUistarum veteris ecclesise; and Bleck in the 
Zeitschrift of Schleiermacher, St. I. II. ; Scott's IVth Lecture 
on the Existence and Agency of Evil Spirits ; and Stuart on 
the Apocalypse, vol. i. pp. 87 — 107. 

Note N. Page 267. 

If the text, 2 Tim. iii. 16, had read Traaa rj ypa^?), the inter- 
pretation, "all Scripture," would not have been disputed. 
That no stress, however, is to be laid on the absence of the 
article, must be evident from the peculiarly appropriated and 
' definite sense in which ypa(j)r) is here used. What the apostle 
designates by the term was so pre-eminent and notorious, that 
the article was no more required to give it a greater degree 
of weight than it was in such cases as Trdcra 'ifpoo-oXv/xa, 
Matth. ii. 3 ; Tras oIkos 'larparjX, Acts ii. 36 ; Tray laparj'K, 
Rom. xi. 26; Trdaa Trarptu, Eph. ui. 15. In all these, and 


similar cases, there is a grand, well-kno\vn whole, to which 
reference is made, which renders any further defiuiteness 
unnecessary. Compare naaa avvaycoy^, Exod. xvi. 2, Josh, 
xviii. 1 ; nda-av a-vvayoiyrjv, Lev. viii. 3 ; ndcnjs (rvvayayrjs, 
Numb.xxvu. 10 ; rrdaa eKKkrjaia, 1 Kings viii. 14, 55 ; /uera 
7rd(TT]s dwdjiecoi, Diod. Sic. 19, 23 ; aTra? Xetoy, Himer. 13, 3 ; 
Winer's Gram. § 17. 10. "Note ; irda-a olKoBofirj, Eph. ii. 21, 
as exhibited in BDEGI 44, 48, 67 **. 72, 73, 74, 80, 91, 106, 
109, 219, 238, al. pi. Lect. 1, 8, 13, (bis) edd. Clem. Bas. Chrys. 
(in Comment.) Theodoret. (Ec. Though koL is not expressed 
in the Syriac, Yulgate, and Arabic versions, all of which are 
closely related to each other, it is not wanting in a single MS. 
of the Greek New Testament that has yet been collated. It 
is, therefore, perfectly unwarrantable to omit it in translation, 
as some have done. That the Greek Eathers understood an 
ellipsis of the substantive verb after deoTrvevo-ros, cannot be 
disputed. Thus Origen: Trdcra ypacfirj deonvevo-ros ova-a, 
co^eXt/io? eo-Ti. — The author of the Synopsis : Trdaa ypa(f)T) 
rjiiav ;^picrTiai/(ui' deoTrvevcrros icmv. ovk doptCTTa de, dXXa 
fxdWov apLafxeva Koi K€KavovL(rp.eva e;^et rd jStjSXta* kol icm 
TTJs fiev TTaXaids tia6i]Kr]s, ravra, k.t.X. S. Athanas. Opera, 
tom. ii. p. 55, ed. Colog. — Basil M. nda-a ypa<pri BeoTrvevcrTos 
KOL (o(pe\ip.os, did TovTo crvyypafpelaa napd tov TTViVfxaros, 
K.T.X. Proem, in Psalm. 

Note O. Page 270. 

Various explications have been given of the words Traaa 
7rpo<f)T}Teta ypa(f)rj<f I8ias eiriXvo-ecos ov yiuerai, (2 Pet. i. 20,) 
of which the following are the principal : — 1. No prophecy is 
of arbitrary interpretation. 2. No prophecy is of separate or 
detached interpretation. 3. All prophecy is not to be literally 
interpreted. 4. No prophecy could be explained by the prophets 
themselves. 5. No prophecy can be interpreted by the unas- 
sisted powers of the reader. 6. No prophecy is of self -solution. 
7. No prophecy can be rendered invalid. 8. No prophecy is 


the result oi private or uninspired disclosure. The sixth is that 
which Bishop Horsley has adopted, and wliich, in consequence 
of the ability vdth which he has defended it, has met with very 
general acceptance. Yet the same objection lies against it, 
which has been adduced against most of the others — its want 
of strict agreement with the statement made in the following 
verse. Li fact, the last of these diiFerent constructions is the 
only one which at once suits the preceding and following 
context. The subject of discourse is the prophetic oracles 
contained in the Old Testament, which the apostle proceeds to 
show were equally to be depended on with the voice from the 
excellent glory, forasmuch as they did not originate with man, 
but with the Spirit of God. What confirms this view of the 
passage is the appropriation of the term "ihto^ in such connec- 
tion, precisely as it is used by Philo, in the section quoted in 
the Introductury Lecture, p. 37. And, that it is the origina- 
tion of the prophetic matter, and not the mere interpretation 
of it, after it has been delivered to the church, which is 
intended, may be argued from the verb yiveTai, and not e<m, 
being employed. The former, it is well known, does not denote 
simple existence, but the commencement of existence — the 
coming into being, the origination of any thing. The only 
difficulty connected with this interpretation is the sense in 
which it requires eTriXucrt? to be taken — a sense which, it is 
freely admitted, is not found elsewhere to attach to the word. 
But though it is not used in the exact sense of revelation or 
inspiration, the instances in which it, or the cognate verb 
eTrtXvo), are employed (Gen. xl. 8, LXX. & Aquila ; Hos. iii. 4, 
Symmachus ; Mark iv. 34), all convey the idea of information 
imparted respecting obscure or difficult matters, in consequence 
of supernatural or divine influence. It is, therefore, equivalent 
to epfirjveLa, in the sense of a communication made by a divine 
interpreter, and may have been employed in this sense by the 
apostle. See on the passage Wolfii Curee Philol. 


Note P. Page 277. 

Est euim scriptitrfc et prcedicationis par ratio. Quae enim 
voce prsedicabatur doctriua, ea postea juvaudse memoriaj causa 
consignabatur Uteris, et quae causa erat, cur pra^dicationem ex 
diviiia iuspiratione oporteret peragi, ea militabat pro scrip- 
tionis 60 magis, quod scriptura deberet esse medium doctrinse 
ejusdem iucorrupte ad fmem muiidi usque conservandse et ad 
posteritatem propagandse, — Musmis in Sjnuosismo, p. 69. 

Note Q. Page 279. 

That boKciv (1 Cor. vii. 40) is not designed to express doubt 
or uncertainty, is admitted by the best critics. "Verbum doKw 
" nou incertam quandam opinionem, sed convictionem et scien- 
" tiam infei-t, ut Job. v. 39, Acts xv. 28, et Matth. xvii. 25." 
Wolfius. "Verbum 8ok(5 nou incertam opinionem, sed convic- 
" tionem et exploratam notitiam infert : certum halDeo, conscio 
" mihi." Hei/denreich. " In Nov. Test, verbum doKelv non- 
" nunquam non de existimatione aut judicio super aliqua re 
" explicandiim est, sed rem, de qua sermo est, aifirmat, sive 
" potius TrXeoj/a^fi," &c. Glassii PJiil. Sac. ed. Dath. p. 229. 
" !Mr. 10, 42, sind ol boKovvr^s upx^-v rav eQvau die fur die 
" BeherrscJier der Volker gelten, dafilr coierkannt sind (ahnL 
" Arrian Epict. 1, 9, vgl. Soph. Aj. 1114. Hist. Susan. 5. 
" Joseph. Antt. 19, 6, 3 ; die Parallelstelle Mt. 20, 25, hat 
" bios ol apxovres; Luc. 22, 24, rh avrav doKel eluai [icl^cov 
" quis videatur habere (habiturus esse) principatum, von wem 
" man urtheilen miisse, dass er den Vorzug (vor den iibrigen) 
" habe ; die Sache ist noch zukiinftig, und so nur Gegeustand 
" des muthmaasslichen Urtheils ; 1 Cor. 11, 16, ei rts BokcZ 
" (l>i\6v€iKos elvai si tihi placet litigare {Siolz ; will lem. hier- 
" iiber streiten) obschon in dieser Bed. gern der Dativ des Pron. 
" (eavrw) wenigstens in Prosa dabei steht ; Luc. 8, 18, 
" o 8oKeI exf"' was er glauht (recht fest) zu besitzen. Ueber 
" 1 Cor. 3, IS, 7, 40, 14, 37. Heb. 4, 1, (wo Bohme das hoKu 


" fiii' elegantius lialt !) bedarf es keiner Beinerkung." Winer's 
Gmnwiatik, p. 494, 3d Ed. The note of Calvin is not unde- 
serving of notice : " Non tamen videtur ironia carere quod 
" dieit. Existimo. Nam quuni pseudo-apostoli, Spiritum Dei 
" inflatis buccis identidem jactarent ad auctoritatem sibi arro- 
" gandam, et interea Paulo detrahere studereut ; dicit se 
" quoque sibi videri compotem Spiritus non minus quam ipsos." 
— Comment, in loc. 

Note R. Page 292. 

" Bigito Deifiienmt scripta, id est, opere Dei, ab ipso Deo, 
" non ab homine, vel angelo. Digitus Dei significat Dei omni- 
" potentiam, (Exod viii. 19 ; Luc. xi. 20.) Senus igitur est, 
" quod operatione Dei immediata, sine angelorum ministerio, 
" lex duabus tabulis fit impressa, Dei enim clicei-e e^ifacere. 
" Psalm cxv. 3 ; Psalm xxxiii. 9." — Gerhardi Loc. Theol. tom. v. 
p. 236. 

Note S. Page 311. 

The position, that the phrase d \6yos rov Qeov, is never 
used of the ^\Titten word, or the revelation of the will of God 
contained in the Scriptures, must appear unwarranted to those 
who impartially and carefully examine the following passages : 
Ps. cxix. ; Prov. xxx. 5 ; Mark vii. 13 ; John x. 35 ; Heb. iv. 12. 

Note T. Page 322. 

That the Book of Genesis was, in part at least, compiled 
from ancient accounts handed down by oral tradition in the 
church of God, is an opimon which was first advanced by 
Vitringa in his Observationes Sacra}, lib. i. c. iv. § 23. It 
was afterwards adopted and defended by Le Gene, Calmet, and 
Astruc. The refinements which have been made upon it by 
Eichhorn, Ilgcn, Gramberg, and other German writers, have in 
no small degree brought it into discredit ; but the discrimina- 
tive use of the Divine names n;n;> and c'r''?^, in the tliree first 


chapters, can only be accounted for on some such principle. 
See the Introductions of Home, Eichhom, Jahu, and Bertholdt, 
Dr. J. Pye Smith's Congregational Lecture, p. 207, and Stuart 
on the 0. T. Canon, p. 54. 

XoTE U. Page 449. 

" The supposition, that miraculous powers were gra- 

" dually withdrawn from the Church, appears in a great 
" measure to account for the uncertainty which has prevailed 
" respecting the period of their cessation. To adopt the 
" language of undoubting confidence on such a subject, would 
" be a mark no less of folly than presumption ; but I may be 
" allowed to state the conclusion to which I have myself been 
" led, by a comparison of the statements in the Book of Acts 
" with the writings of the Pathers of the second century. 
" My conclusion then is, that the power of working miracles 
" was not extended beyond the disciples upon whom the 
" apostles conferred it by the imposition of their hands. As 
" the number of those disciples gradually diminished, the 
" instances of the exercise of miraculous powers became con- 
" tinually less frequent, and ceased entirely at the death of the 
" last individual on whom the hands of the apostles had been 
" laid. That event would, in the natural course of things, take 
" place before the middle of the second century ; at a time 
" when, Christianity having obtained a footing in all the pro- 
" vinces of the Roman empire, the miraculous gifts confen-ed 
" upon its first teachers had performed their appropriate office 
" — that of proving to the world that a New Revelation had 
" been given from heaven. TVliat, then, would be the effect 
" produced upon the minds of the great body of Christians by 
" their gradual cessation ? Many would not observe, none 
" would be willing to observe it ; for all must naturally feel a 
" reluctance to believe that powers which had contributed so 
" essentially to the rapid diffusion of Christianity, were with- 
" drawn. They who remarked the cessation of miracles, would 


" probably succeed in persuaclmj^ themselves that it was only 
" temporary, and designed by an all-wise Providence to be the 
" prelude to a more abundant effusion of supernatural gifts 
" upon the Church. Or if doubts and misgivings crossed their 
" minds, they would still be unwilling openly to state a fact, 
" which might shake the stedfastness of the friends, and would 
" certainly be urged by the enemies of the gospel, as an argu- 
" ment against its divine origin. They would pursue the 
" plan which has been pursued by Justin Martyr, Theophilus, 
" Irenseus, &c. ; they would have recourse to general assertions 
" of the existence of supernatural powers, without attempting 
" to produce a specific instance of their exercise. The silence 
" of ecclesiastical history, respecting the cessation of miraculous 
" gifts in the Chiu'ch, is to be ascribed, not to the insensibility 
" of Christians to that event, but to the combined influence of 
" prejudice and policy — of prejudice which made them reluctant 
*' to believe, of policy which made them anxious to conceal, 
" the truth." — Bp. Kaifs Ecdes. Hist, of the Second and Third 
Centuries, pp. 98 — 100, 2d ed. The same view of the subject 
is substantially presented by the late Dr. Burton, in his History 
of the Christian Church, pp. 185—187, Christ. Know. edit. 1S36; 
and by Dr. Waddington, in his History of the Chui-ch, p. 19. 

Note X. Page 450. 

Scarcely had the miraculous gifts ceased, when the Cataphry- 
gians sprang up, who laid claim to a greater plenitude of them 
than had been enjoyed even in the apostolic age. They took 
their name from the circumstances, that ]\Iontanus, to Avhom 
they owed their origin, was born at the village of Ardaba in 
the province of Mysia, bordering on Phiygia {h rfj Kara rrjv 
^pvyiav Mvaia) ; that most of them, at first, were natives of 
that province ; and that Pepuza and Tymium were their great 
resort, and, in their estimation, the predicted New Jerusalem 
of the Revelation. They made their appearance soon after the 
middle of the second century. Their founder appears to have 


been a man of melancholy temperament, and an overheated 
imagination, given to ecstatic abreptions of mind, and snbject 
to the most extravagant enthusiasms. Not content with main- 
taining the continuance of the miraculous gifts of the Spirit, 
he went so far in the arrogance of his pretensions as to assert, 
that he was the Paraclete promised by our Saviour — by which, 
however, it would be doing him injustice to suppose he meant 
the Holy Spirit personally. All he intended appears to have 
been, that, as the Divine dispensations were progressive in 
their character, and that of Christ and the apostles was more 
eminent than those which preceded it, so the dispensation, with 
which he was entrusted, was supplementary to the gospel, and 
distinguished by a more plentiful degree of supernatural 
influence. He was irreproachable in his moral character, a 
rigid disciplinarian, and, except on the point just mentioned, 
orthodox in his doctrinal principles. Attaching to himself 
Priscilla and JMaximilla, two ladies of ranli and fortune, who 
left their husbands, and assumed the character of prophetesses, 
he soon attracted attention — no less by his own frantic mani- 
festations, than by the fanatical spirit, and bold, alarming 
predictions, to which these and others of his disciples gave 
utterance. They all represented themselves to be the mere 
passive organs of the Spirit, by whose power they were, during 
their ecstatics, bereft of all self-possession. If we may believe 
the statements of Epiphanius, many of their prophecies were 
couched in the most extravagant language. They foretold in 
particular the fall of the Roman empire ; the coming of Anti- 
christ ; and the speedy commencement of the Millennium. 

The sensation which was created by the appearance of Mon- 
tanus and liis prophetesses led to considerable opposition on 
the part of the neighbouring bishops ; several works were 
written against them, and they were at length formally de- 
nounced : but the sect rapidly multipHed not only in Asia and 
Africa, but also in Europe, and continued to exist under various 
names so late as the sixth century. What principally con- 
tributed to its prosperity was the severity of its discipHne, 


which, contrasted with the lax and accommodating spirit which 
began to prevail, greatly recommended it to notice. It was 
beyond all doubt this feature of its character, which operated 
upon the mind of TertuUian, already strongly imbued with 
ascetic feelings, who, about the year 199, embraced its general 
principles, though it is thought he became less attached to 
them as he advanced in life. Whoever mil carefully peruse 
what has been preserved to us of the sentiments and practices 
of the Montanists, will find in them the prototypes of almost 
all the extravagances broached by those who, in succeeding 
ages, have pretended to inspiration and prophecy.^ 

Not to enter into a detailed account of the imaginary visions 
and revelations of Leuthard in the tenth centuiy ; Elizabeth 
and Hildegardis in the twelfth ; St. Francis in the thii'teenth ; 
St. Brigitta and the French Dancers in the fourteenth ; Eliza- 
beth Barton, or the Holy Maid of Kent, and Munzer, Storck, 
and others of the Anabaptists, in the sixteenth — who, laying 
claim to celestial communications, and, some of them, to a 
divine commission, gave utterance to prophecies and warnings 
by which they more or less seduced the credulous multitude — 
we pass on to notice the pretensions of some of those, who, 
from the seventeenth century downwards, have advanced 
unscriptural notions on the subject of supernatural influence. 

In consequence of the circulation of the works of Paracelsus, 
Weigel, Boehme, Gichtel, and other Rosicrucians, a spirit of 
mysticism began to obtain on the continent, which resulted 
partly in assurances of a supposed inward light, wliich was 
elevated above the Scriptures, and partly in ecstatic abstrac- 
tions, visions, and fancied inspirations, prophecies, and miracles. 

(1) Eusebii Hist. Eccles. lib. v. c. 16; Mosheim's Church Hist. b. i. p. 2, 
ch. 5, §§23,24; Weismanni Introd. in Memorab. Eccles. Secul. ii. § xviii. ; 
M. Wernsdorf Commentatio, de Montanistis, &c. Dantzig. 1751, 4to. ; Nean- 
der's Kirchengeschichte, 1 Band, 3 Abtheil, pp. 579—595 ; Bp. Kay's Eccles. 
Hist. p. 12—35. The History of Montanisra, by a Layman (Dr. Lee, of 
St. John's College, Oxford), in Dr. Hickes's Spirit of Enthusiasm exorcised. 
London, 1709. 


Most of those who laid claim to these priTileges were persons 
of unimpeachable character, and, to all appearance, sincere in 
their piety. The first appearances of this description took place 
in connection with the Moravian Brethren, one of whose 
bishops, the learned Comenius, mixed himself up in some 
measui'e with them, and left an account of some of the more 
remarkable revelations. A number of imposing prophecies 
were delivered by Cotter, a native of Silesia, occasioned by the 
political aspect of the times, and were received as divine by 
some of the most pious then living ; but as several of them 
related to things, that were soon to happen, their non-fulfilment 
proved their falsity ; the pretended seer lost his credit, and 
was at last banished his country. It might have been sup- 
posed, that such failui-es would have opened the eyes of the 
good bishop; but he was again imposed upon by a female 
named Christina Poniatovsky, who, in the year 1627, began to 
experience ecstasies, and give forth extraordinary revelations ; 
and was the subject of pretended miracles, such as a sudden 
recovery from lameness, and a resurrection from an alleged 
state of death. The disclosiu'es which she made were both of 
a political and religious nature, and such were the impressions 
produced by them, that, after much prayer and deliberation, 
at a synod of the Brethren, held in 1629, it was decided, that 
the matter should be left in abeyance, lest, from the difference 
of opinion which existed, a rupture might take place in the 
church. Nor did the non-occurrence of the events which 
Christina foretold render Comenius and his fellow-believers in 
these claims incredulous respecting their character ; for scarcely 
had Dabricius, one of the Moravian pastors, some years after- 
wards, propounded similar revelations, than they also were 
admitted to be divine.^ 

Visionary pretensions were revived in Germany, towards the 
close of the seventeenth century, in the persons of two ladies 
of rank, Bosamunde Juliana von Asseburg, and Johanna 
Eleonore von Merlan, both of whom professed to be favoured 

(1) Goode's Modem Claims, pp. 162—164. 


wdtli extraordinai-y communications from heaven, and predicted 
ydih great confidence tlie immediate commencement of the 
thousand years' reign, and the restitution of all things ;^ and in 
Antoinette Bomignon, whose supernatural gifts were asserted 
with equal confidence ; but all who had hitherto appeared were 
eclipsed by the Camisards, or the prophets of the Cevennes in 
France, who sprang up to the number of several thousands, 
amidst the persecutions which followed the revocation of the 
edict of Nantz in 16S5. According to testimonies given by 
themselves, the gifts were liberally bestowed on persons of both 
sexes, and of dilferent ages and conditions of life. Children 
between three and twelve years of age, and some only thirteen 
or fourteen months old, had the gift of exhortation; some 
pretended to that of tongues, some to the discerning of men's 
thoughts, and a knowledge of future events ; and some to the 
power of working mii-acles. They were subject to the most 
violent agitations and convulsions of body; stretching out 
theii- anns and legs, and staggering several times before they 
dropped down ; they then struck themselves vrith the hand, 
fell on their back, shut their eyes, heaved with the breast, and, 
after remaining some time in trances, came out of them with 
twitchings, and gave utterance to their inspirations, sometimes 
with great vehemence and incoherence — at others, more con- 
nectedly and calmly. They uniformly maintained, that they 
were compelled by an invisible, over-ruling power to deliver 
themselves as they did. 2 

Having been, for the most part, hunted down by the king's 
troops, those who survived took refuge in other countries, 
especially in our ovm, where they continued theii- pretensions. 
Their leaders, Marion, Cavalier, and Tage, were joined, in the 
year 1706, by Nicholas Eacio, a learned mathematician, John 
Lacy, a gentleman of property, and Sir Richard Bulkeley, who 
assisted them in their attempts to introduce, what they impiously 
tcnncd, "The New Dispensation," which was to begin in 

(1) Guericke Handb. der Allgem. Kirchengesch. p. 880. 

(2) Goode's Modern Claims, pp. 1G9— ISO. 


England, and be manifest over the whole earth within the 
short term of three years. Their proceedings were marked by 
the same agitations, heavings of the breast, and hmnming 
noises, which had characterised the proceedings of the party 
in Erance. They gave vent to their feelings on all occasions, 
in private houses and in. public assemblies — accompanying 
their announcements with violent gesticulations; beating 
marches, and showing other signs of militaiy exercise ; siaguig, 
laughing, and frequently M^histling aloud. They not only 
indulged in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and French utterances, 
with which languages, it was alleged, they were unacquainted 
when out of the ecstasy, but spoke in a tongue equally unkno-svn 
to themselves, and to those who heard them. They delivered 
numerous warnings and predictions, which, on being disproved 
by the event, they endeavoured to constme in a different 
manner. They also professed to work miracles ; but, unfor- 
tunately for their cause, they staked its credit on the resurrec- 
tion of a Dr. Emms, which it was explicitly predicted was to 
happen on the 25th of May, 1708, about five months after his 
interment. By the complete failure wliich ensued, the eyes of 
many of the visionaries were opened to the delusion, the 
influence of which gradually diminished, especially in the 
metropoKs, which had been the principal scene of action. The 
immoral conduct in wliich Mr. Lacy, one of the chief prophets, 
was aften\^ards known to indulge, also contributed to bring it 
to a close, as a matter of public notoriety in this country.^ 

Some of the fraternity continued, however, to meet at Boston 
and Manchester ; from which latter place, under the name of 
Shakers, a number of them proceeded, in the year 1774, to 
America, headed by Ann Lee, a blacksmith's wife, who had 
been cruelly persecuted for her opinions, and who acquired 
such an ascendancy over her followers, that they acknoMledged 
her as their spiiitual mother in Christ, and gave her the title 
of MotJier Ann. They fii-st settled at Watersliet, in the State 

(1) Goode, ut sup. pp. 181—196. Calamy's Life, vol. ii. pp. 71—78, 94—98, 
103—105, 111,112. 


of New York, but afterwards formed a more permanent esta- 
blishment at New Lebanon, which is still regarded as the 
common centre of union for all the societies which exist in 
different parts of the country. Their notions on subjects of 
doctrine are grossly erroneous. Their views of Deity are 
dualistic 5 they hold the sinful humanity of Christ, and sinless 
perfection in this life. They place their much-boasted mother 
on a par with our Saviour, and regai'd her as a second Eve, in 
whom, as the first-bom daughter, to use their own language, 
" the image and likeness of the eternal Mother was formed, 
as really as the image and likeness of the eternal Father was 
formed in the Lord Jesus, the first-born Son." ^ Having 
received what she considered to be the fulness of the Divine 
Spirit, she had numerous visions and manifestations, to which 
her followers still pretend, as they also do to the gift of pro- 
phecy, speaking with tongues, discerning of spirits, and the 
power of working miracles. Benjamin Whitcher, one of the 
aged brethren, whose Testimonies, as approved by the church, 
were pubhshed in 1827,^ declares, under date July 23, 1826, 
that " Mother Ann and the first elders were endowed with all 
" those spii'itual gifts, which were so abundantly poured out 
" upon the apostles at the day of Pentecost ; and many of the 
" believers actually received the same spiritual gifts through 
" their ministration, and these gifts have continued in the 
" church to this day. However incredible or unaccountable 
" these things may appear to those who are without Christ and 
" without God in the world, I am fully established in this truth, 
" and can confidently testify to aU men, without the least doubt 
" or hesitation, that Christ did commence his second appear- 
" ance by his Spirit, in Mother Ann, to complete the work of 
" salvation and redemption, according to his promise ; — that 
" she was a chosen vessel, anointed and commissioned of God 

(1) Peculiarities of the Shakers, p. 79. New York, 1832. 

(2) Testimonies concerning the Character and Ministry of Mother Ann Lee, 
and the first Witnesses of the Gospel of Christ's Second Appearing. Albany, 
1827, p. 154. 


" to reveal to fallen man the seat of human depravity, and to 
" preach the gospel of salvation to a lost world ; — and that she 
" and the first witnesses did actually administer the only way 
" of salvation to all who believed and obeyed her testimony." 
Their present number exceeds five thousand, and is said to be 
rapidly increasing. More than two-thirds of the number have 
been added to the Society since the commencement of the 
present century ; a circumstance which is, no doubt, in a great 
measure, to be ascribed to those spurious excitements, which 
may be regarded as morbid fanatical excrescences of the re- 
markable revivals of religion which have taken place within 
that period in the state of Kentucky and other parts adjacent. 
To return to Britain, whence this branch of Inspirationists 
emanated : if we except the pretended commissions of Richard 
Brothers and Joanna Southcote, whose fictitious revelations 
and prophecies attracted attention for a time, and those of the 
latter far beyond what might have been expected, considering 
the crass absurdities by which they were marked, nothing 
preferring claims to be a revival of the extraordinary gifts of 
the apostolic church appeared, till the year 1830, when they 
were advanced at Femicarry on the Gareloch, and at Port 
Glasgow in the west of Scotland, from which places they were 
speedily transferred to one of the Scotch churches in London' 
where Mr. Irving had gradually been prepariag for their admis- 
sion, by a coui-se of prophetic and spiritual interpretation of 
the most eccentric, yet highly fascinating description. Alarmed 
at the political movements of the day, every aspect of prophecy 
which seemed to bear on the coming of Christ in judgment 
upon his enemies, was laid under contribution, and made to 
tell on the circumstances of the times : with the announcement 
of the doom of Babylon was propounded a peculiar system of 
Mnienarianism ; and in order that the church might be pre- 
pared for the return of her Lord, it was declared to be her 
duty to pray for the restoration of the miraculous gifts of the 
Spirit. What was taught with all the solemnity and assurance 
of an ambassador from heaven, met with a corresponding 

K K 


reception from the great bulk of the hearers. A wide-spreading 
expectation was excited, and in many the firm belief was pro- 
duced, that the Lord would immediately appear. At this 
juncture, utterances broke forth, partly of an unknown and 
inexplicable description, and partly in English, of which the 
latter were regarded as prophetic announcements, to be im- 
plicitly received and obeyed. At first, they were confined to 
private meetmgs, but in 1831 they made their appearance in 
the pubKc congregation, and continued to convey warnings of 
divine judgments, and predictions of a complete restoration of 
the apostolic office, with all the accompanying supernatm-al 
endowments ; a new church order, and the coming of Christ 
in glory, after testimony had been borne to the world for three 
years and a half, commencing from the 14th of January, 1832> 
The expulsion of Mr. Irving from the church in which he had 
oflaciated, and into wliich these novelties had been introduced,, 
was the signal for the formation of a new constitution of things : 
ministries of apostles, angels, pillars, prophets, elders, and 
evangelists, have been successively established, and are now 
under the presidency of a leader, who unites in his own person 
the characters of "Pillar of the Apostles," "Pillar of the 
Angels," and "Angel of the church at Albury." They con- 
sider the antitypes of the ancient Jewish tabernacle and all its 
appurtenances to exist among them — each member answering, 
in some respect or other, to something belonging to that erec- 
tion. The tithe system is strictly carried out in vii'tue of a 
mandate, that they shall all, without exception, pay one-tenth 
of their weekly expenditure into the treasury for supporting 
the different ministries ; and submission as implicit is required 
to this and every other point ordained by the new apostles, as 
that wliich was demanded by Moses in the name of Jehovah. 

The present position of this people is very peculiar. A high 
degree of excitement has been produced by what has taken 
place among them; and means are still employed for the 
purpose of keeping up this excitement, and extending it 
through the country ; but the novelty of the manifestations 


begins to wear away ; several distinct and pointed predictions 
Jiave completely failed; the unknoAvn tongue still remains 
uninterpreted, while the English utterances, which are still 
more or less continued, have nothing in them indicative of a 
celestial origin; all attempts at the performance of miracles 
have proved abortive; impostures and other evils have been 
detected ; some pious persons, who took a leading part in the 
scenes which were enacted, have become convinced of the 
delusion, and retain so deep a sense of its horrid nature, that 
they find it impossible to rid their minds of the idea, that it 
«an only be resolved into diabolical influence — an immediate 
inspiration of Satan, wrought with a view to counteract the 
work of God, which is going forward on the earth. Much 
anxiety prevails with respect to the disclosures, wliich are to 
be made by the conclave of the twelve apostles now sitting at 
Albury, where they were commanded, by an utterance, to 
remain for a year in a state of separation from the church and 
the world ; and all sorts of arguments are adopted in order to 
keep up a conviction, that God will reveal himself in the pleni- 
tude of his spiritual gifts, whatever may be the result of this 
or any other particular measure, and whatever may be the 
disappointments by which the faith of " the remnant " may be 
tried. ^ 

In passing from a review of the pretensions put forth by the 
Erench prophets to that of those advanced by the Irvingites, 
we purposely omitted to notice the Swedenborgians, though 
they made their appearance in the interim — partly that we 
might avail ourselves of the intermediate link, which connects 
the two former parties, and partly that we might have an 
opportunity of examining separately the claims of the last- 
mentioned body of rehgionists. 

(1) For a most satisfactory refutation of the claims advanced by this body, 
and others pretending to inspiration, the reader is referred to The Modern 
Claims to the possession of the extraordinary Gifts of the Spirit, stated and 
examined. By the Rev. W'illiam Goode, A.M. &:c. London, 1834. 2d Edit. 
A work replete with learning, and sound scriptural reasoning. See also 
Baxter's Irvingism, and Modern Fanaticism Unveiled. 


That we do them no injustice in placing them among those 
who believe in post-apostolic iaspiration, must be obvious to 
all who are, in any measure, acquainted with the peculiar prin- 
ciples of their system, the seriously avowed supernatural inter- 
coui'se of their founder with the invisible world, and their 
devoted attachment to his writings. They profess to regard 
Emmanuel Swedenborg as an extraordinary messenger of God 
to the world, speak of him as holding a divine commission, and 
scruple not to call him " the inspii-ed Swedenborg." * Accord- 
ing to his own statements, the Lord manifested himself to 
him, in a personal appearance, in the year 1743, by means of 
which " his interiors " were opened to a perception or sight 
of the spiritual world, and he was privileged to converse with 
angels and spirits, who imparted to him information on an 
immense number of points previously unknown to mankind. 
This privilege, he tells us, he continued to enjoy for the space 
of twenty-seven years. Most of his visions, he avers, he had 
in the body ; but, on some particular occasions, his spirit was 
separated from the body, and had immediate commerce with 
the inhabitants of the spiritual world. Among other arcana 
which he professes to have had revealed to him, is that which 
continues to be the principal prop of Swedenborgianism — a 
spiritual sense of the words of Scripture. " Lest mankind," 
he says, " should remain any longer in doubt concerning the 
" divinity and most adorable sanctity of the word, it hath 
" pleased the Lord to reveal to me its internal sense, which, 
" in its essence, is spiritual : — a sense, which hath never here- 
" tofore entered into the conception of any person on earth," ^ 
By the doctrine of correspondences, which the Baron's exten- 
sive acquaintance with natural science, and his almost boundless 
imagination, admu-ably qualified him to elucidate, he found no 
difficulty in bringing a mystical meaning out of every part of 
the literal narrative. If we receive his revelations, we must 
bcHeve that Egypt signifies wliat is scientific ; Asshur, what is 
rational ; Edom, what is natural ; Moab, the adulteration of 

(1) True Christian Religion, p. 7. (2) Ibid. pp. 222, 223. 


good ; A.nmiou, the adulteration of truth ; the Philistines, faith 
without charity; Tyre and Sidon, the knowledge of goodness 
and truth ; Gog, extertial worship without internal ; Jacob, the 
church-natural; Israel, the church-spiritual; and Judah, the 
chm-ch-celestial.^ In mystical interpretation, he far surpasses 
Philo, Origen, and the whole tribe of spiritualizers. The in- 
fluence of the system on the doctrines of the Trinity, the 
Mediation of Christ, Justification through Paith, and indeed aU 
the peculiar articles of the Christian faith, is radically subversive. 
Under the pretext of belief in the plenaiy inspiration of the Scrip- 
tures, he and his followers fill them with aU imaginable fictions ; 
turn the soberest realities into allegory; and, wliile they 
profess to find stores of hidden wisdom beneath the surface of 
the letter, supply their disciples with the rubbish of deception 
and error. They imagine, that, by their dexterity in the 
science of spiritual discovery, they can meet all the objections 
of infidels ; but principles of exegesis, which are an outrage on 
the dictates of common sense, and which, if consistently fol- 
lowed out, would authorize our converting profane history 
itself into an allegory, are not likely to commend themselves to 
persons of that description. It may further be observed, that 
the Swedenborgians believe only certain books of the Bible to 
be strictly the Scriptures or the absolute word of God, viz. the 
Law, the Prophets, the Psalms, the Gospels, and the book of 
Revelation. To aU the rest, they deny plenary inspu-ation, and 
regard them merely as the compositions of highly gifted men, 
who were under a general illumination from the Spirit of God. 
The last class of professing Christians, to whose sentiments 
on the subject of continued inspiration it is necessary to 
advert, consists of the Priends, or the body originally and stiU 
generally known by the name of Quakers. To the mii-aculous 
endowments, which distinguished the apostolic age, they make 
no pretensions. Prom the visionary extravagances by which 
some other sects have rendered themselves ridiculous, they are 
also in the present day, for the most part, exempt. One of the 

(1) True Christian Religion, p. 228. 


fundamental points, however, in which they differ from the 
general body of Christians, is that of immediate revelation, or 
a direct, internal presentation of truth to the soul, a new 
objective revelation, which becomes the supreme rule or guide, 
and is altogether distinct from, and independent of, the external 
testimony of Scripture. They refuse to call the Scriptures 
" the word of God," and will not allow them to be the primary 
rule of faith and manners. They believe in the actual inspira- 
tion and divine authority of the Bible, and admit its great 
practical utility. They also concede to it the exclusive pre- 
rogative of being the only fit outward judge of controversies 
among Christians ; but they will not admit, that it constitutes 
the ultimate standard, to which the iuward light or testimony 
is to be subordiuate. 

The consequences of the adoption of tliis priuciple have been 
the concession of a greater degree of attention to the supposed 
internal light, perceptible guidance, or mental impressions, 
than to the light of diviue truth as shining hi the holy Scrip- 
tures ; the assumption of a saving light, which, it is maintained, 
is imparted in a direct or immediate manner to all mankind ; 
the palpable confounding of the two essentially distinct doc- 
trines of justification and sanctification ; and, to a lamentable 
extent, the reduction of the blessed and saving instruction of 
the Holy Spirit to the mere operations of natural reason. 

By the salutary influence of the Bible Society, however, in 
the operations of which the Friends have happily been led to 
take a most active part, and by the contact iuto which they 
have been brought with genuine Christians of different deno- 
minations, as well as by the more general diffusion of the prin- 
ciples of evangelical tmth among them, a very considerable 
change has been effected in their body on the subject of per- 
sonal inspiration, and other topics coimected wdth it. The 
Bible has risen in estimation ; many of its texts, which had 
been seen through a distorted medium, are now viewed in their 
true light ; its commanding power has been more sensibly felt ; 
the excellence of its truths has induced to its more extensive 


perusal, both privately and in the family circle ; and there is 
reason to believe that many members of the Society would now 
cheerfully consent to the reading of it being introduced as a 
constituent part of their public worship. A comparison of the 
" sui'e testimonies " of God, contained in his word, with the 
variable standard of an imaginary inward revelation, has dis- 
covered the uncertam and consequently unsatisfactory character 
of the latter, and created a desire to remove from the former 
the degrading epithet of a secondary rule, and restore it to its 
proper place as the kevelation and the rule, which alone 
possess objective certitude. 

What has in no small degree contributed to bring matters 
to an issue in the minds of some of the more enlightened and 
pious members of this community, and is likely to operate stiU 
more powerfully on the body, is the discovery, that the principle 
of universal inward Ught, if carried out to its whole length, 
naturally leads to Deism, or at least merges most easily in 
Rationalism, for which its advocacy is little else than a different 
name. Of this a mournful exemplification has recently been 
furnished by EHas Hickes and his numerous adherents in 
America, formerly belonging to the Society, who have been 
seduced into an undisguised denial of the fundamental doctrines 
of the Christian Religion.^ 

(1) Since the above was written, the Author has had the happiness to find 
his views respecting the Friends fully supported in a masterly work on the 
subject by the Rev. Dr. Wardlaw, entitled, " Friendly Letters to the Society 
of Friends, on some of their distinguishing principles." Glasgow, 1836. 12mo. 



/ BS480 .H49 1847 
/,! divine inspiration; or, The supernatural 

'i Princeton Theological Semmary-Speer Library 

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